Vetements, fashion’s new label du jour, has had a bit of a banner year. Finalist in this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Designers, hyped to shit by literally everyone in fashion, hugely responsible for the super long and baggy trend, and co-signs from both Rihanna and Kanye. Pretty impressive.
Well, Vetements’ head designer Demna Gvasalia just got an even bigger boost. Days after Alexander Wang’s final collection for Balenciaga (after a very underwhelming but brief period as the brand’s creative director), the iconic French fashion house named Gvasalia its new artistic director. Looking at Vetements’ Spring Summer 2016 collection, seen above, we can expect a pretty big change in the artistic direction at Balenciaga, which is probably a good thing. Vetements takes inspiration from punk rock’s DIY mentality and repurposes it in a very tongue-in-cheek way. It’s especially compelling in its mix of high and low. The collection includes everything from Star Wars printed JNCO-like pants, nightgown-inspired dresses, romantic florals, badass biker outfits, stylish sweatsuits, every colour of the rainbow, and leather aprons that look as inspired by butcher uniforms as they are by bondage wear. It’s not the most beautiful thing you’ll see on the runway—far from it. But after the snoozey past few seasons at Balenciaga, I think everyone is ready for a little more IDGAF attitude and unpredictability at Balenciaga.
What do you guys think about this news?
Images via Vogue.com
Ordinarily, I can’t force myself to care in the least about the Met Gala and red carpet fashion in general. To me, red carpet fashion is all pomp and no substance. As an event for the super-elite, it has zero connection to me as a career woman trying to look stylish on a modest income. Compared to street style, fashion week style, festival style, even whatever style displayed on a random person’s Instagram selfies, red carpet style is by far the least interesting. Why think outside of the box if you risk incurring the wrath of the relentlessly brutal fashion police, especially when you can just get your personal stylist to pick a bunch of designer pieces straight from the runway.
This year I decided to make an exception. After discovering the theme for this year’s Met Gala is basically China (celebrating the opening of the China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition), I was curious. I am, after all, of Chinese ancestry and have spent most of my life watching white people tattoo nonsensical Chinese words on their bodies and become weirdly fixated on Asian culture. Like watching amateur songwriters at an open mic night, I was dying to see exactly how non-Chinese female celebrities and fashion aficionados would interpret and take influence from the theme, without falling victim to campy, culturally-insensitive clichés.
For the most part, and as I expected because this was still very much a red carpet event, most of the looks were boring predictable gowns in red because CHINA, made for boring white girls like Reese Witherspoon. Others literally had nothing to do with China (ummmm…a gold brocade gown from Dolce Gabbana is not Chinese). While others were so culturally-ignorant (see also: ugly) that they just made me laugh. Thanks to both Lady Gaga and SJP.There were a few standouts though. As ridiculous as the train was, Rihanna looked peak-Rihana-levels of stunning in a marigold fur gown by Chinese couturier Guo Pei, who also has two pieces in the exhibition. Kudos to RiRi for not succumbing to the lazy, stereotypical tropes of “dressing Chinese”, and actually doing her homework to find a gown by a Chinese designer. You would think this was a no-brainer, but you would be wrong. Also, that headpiece is insane and I really really want it.I was a fan of Fan Bing Bing’s and Gong Li’s looks, both being very different interpretations of what it means to dress Chinese. FBB went the gilded route, and she wears it with sophistication instead of garishness. Gong Li wears a very simple qipao-inspired velvet gown, the rich plum and delicate lace hugs her perfect body perfectly. OK she is super gorgeous and could probably wear a bag and still look better than SJP.I liked Zoë Kravitz’s chain mesh column dress but I’m not sure what it has to do with China other than the fact that it was designed by Alexander Wang, which probably isn’t what Chinese-inspired means.Miranda Kerr had no idea what the theme was and just wore a Louis Vuitton dress (or is it a shirt?). Her legs look fire though, and the dress or tunic is stunning, so I can’t even be mad at her. I may or may not have just included her because I love an unabashedly all-black look on the red carpet. Also Carey Mulligan looks really cute in dark lipstick.I like Janelle Monae’s black and white two-piece-plus-cape ensemble mostly for the cape, but mostly for the Chinese-inspired collar detail. It was a tasteful interpretation of the theme while staying true to her monochrome personal style I love a good skirt with pants look, especially since I’m pretty sure I tried these on a week ago and cried legit tears that I could not just buy them on the spot. Liya Kebede of course rocks them all the way into Phillip Lim’s well-suited arms, and the pair looks extremely classy in a sea of satin gowns and chopsticked buns. Somewhere in China’s long rich history, people worse skirts over pants. Maybe I’m reaching.This is a very similar outfit to the previous one. But I am a sucker for Diane Kruger and those embroidered Chanel pants. I feel like if you’re interested in fashion but you don’t want to disrespect the culture you’re paying homage to, which is no easy task since people interpret things differently, just pick a dope outfit that uses techniques that are vaguely Chinese. Done!This was one of the most memorable ensembles I saw at this year’s gala and it was worn by Zendaya. The sun-themed Fausto Puglisi gown stood out for its length and its bold, graphic prints. I love the shape of the skirt, but I’m not sure how Chinese any of it is. Hello. This was, hands down, my favourite look of the evening. Designed by Giles and worn expertly by Solange, the dress features a psychedelic digital print and the tiniest of pleats. The pleats actually make the piece look like two fans sitting perpendicular to each other. I liked that it wasn’t such a literal interpretation of the gala theme, and instead chooses a more playful route. 10/10.
Images via vogue.com
Four days into New York Fashion Week, and I was a little underwhelmed by what I had seen so far. It’s not totally surprising. Out of the four major fashion weeks, I must say New York hosts by far the most commercially marketable and conceptually safe brands. With a few notable exceptions, American design brings up the suburban chic of Michael Kors and Coach, the classic preppiness of Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, and the red carpet friendly designs of Zac Posen and Vera Wang. Although their influence on international fashion can’t be underestimated (hello, Isabel Marant), contemporary American design rarely surprises like its British and French counterparts.
Leave it to Alexander Wang to rock my fishnets off, and with an (almost) all-black collection at that. I was relieved to see him step away from the sportiness of his past collections. Honestly I haven’t felt excited about anything he’s designed, for Balenciaga and for his own line, in a while for that very reason. It was ballsy of him to work with all black, as they don’t photograph well and can look flat on the runway. He was smart about it, though, using a variety of fabrics (matte and shiny) and embellishing them with hardware. Wang has always had a great sense for styling, and the stacked boots with the wet hair and slightly undead-looking makeup worked perfectly with the goth-inspired clothes. Standouts included the quilted long coat and mini skirt, the long velvet dress with fringe, the leather culottes worn with a leather-bibbed top, and of course, the naughty chain mail dresses towards the end. Look for those in a million editorials come fall.
Images via style.com
A fun game I like to play is look at every Zara collection and guess the “originals”. I see flashes of Carven and Gucci’s fall 2014 collections in the leopard looks, Alexander Wang in the sportier ensembles, and Christopher Lemaire and The Row in the grey garments.
As Zara’s influence continues to grow among fashion-savvy women, so too have their discreet copycat skills. What makes them so good at channeling their influences can be boiled down to three things: good styling, adoption of vague ideas rather than exact copies, and a choosiness when deciding just which brands to emulate. Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Celine are all fair game. Missoni, Jeremy Scott, Versace: probably not. Because my personal style has always leaned towards minimalism, I’m more than happy that those are the brands Zara chooses to flatter with imitation. Zara’s brilliance at interpreting their influences and styling them in a modern way has even made a fan out of Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, and I have to say I agree.
Images vis Zara.com
Y’all knew it was only a matter of time before I shared with you my growing obsession with bucket hats. It’s got that perfect mix of of functionality and boyish streetwear vibe I dig. When I stood under the pissing rain for 8 hours straight yesterday for Time Festival, all I could think about was how much I needed a hat that covered me all around the head. But seeing as how I have an abnormally-shaped, oversized head (like a pancake?), I have yet to actually put one on for fear of not being able to fit it over my crown. Also, where does one find a bucket hat in the year 2014 anyway?
Click for more super-cool bucket hats after the jump.
The Pack’s first ever guest blog post comes courtesy of Lauren Mitchell, fellow feminist & fashion enthusiast and Toronto’s funniest rap critic. You should read her Tweets here.
J Lo is like the perfect hip hop diva, her style is aspirational – you can’t afford it and your knock offs look cheap as fuck. J Lo is pay the fullest price or go home. J Lo is custom made Balenciaga. J Lo ain’t you, and you ain’t shit. This is why I love her and generally consider her the Queen Diva of Hip Hop. Her new video for I Luh Ya Papi is a return to classic J Lo form. Now, I am going to disregard a couple of things here (the fact that the song sucks, the hook makes it sound like she’s talking to her puppy, I desperately need French Montana to stop rapping) and focus on the important shit, her outfits.