Vetements is no stranger to exploring sub-cultures. Demna’s 2016 collection offered relaxed and raw silhouettes with a range fetish gear, set in a Parisian gay bar. Following the same brutalist aesthetic, the designer has disrupted the romantic and elitist approach to Haute Couture Week, with a presentation of his Spring/Summer 2019 collection, set under a motorway underpass on the outskirts of Paris. And whilst the world’s most recognisable fashion personalities were in-tune with designer’s personal style, it seems that they weren’t quite ready for the next level.
Walking on a platform runway, models sported heavy layering, tough leather, thick outerwear and plenty of hardware. As many outfits explored post-Soviet youth and counter-culture aesthetic, the overall collection took direct inspiration from suppression and brutalism of civil war during the ’90s, with political references towards country flags and strong use of military attire.
“It was like dressing a documentary of my life,” Gvasalia told Vogue US. “I dedicated this collection to Georgia, the Georgia where my brother Guram and I grew up together in the ’90s, and the war that happened where we lived.” Growing up in the the city of Sukhumi, the Gvasalia brothers experienced oppression and war between 1992 and 1993. The city became a battlefield for Georgian government forces and Abkhaz separatists, Russian armed forces and North Caucasian militants, and was considered one of the most underreported humanitarian catastrophes in modern times. As the city of Sukhumi was torn apart by unrest and airstrikes, the two brothers fled the area with their family and ended up in Ukraine, Russia, and then Germany.
Small details including the Russian scarf, prison tattoo motif, and hoodies bearing Viktor Tsoi, all referenced Russian culture, creating a political statement. Military influences were clear, revisiting the time of civil unrest within the country.
Explore the rest of the collection below.