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“Vetements” Catwalk their Unconventional Clothes at Paris Couture Week

It’s couture but not as we know it.The wholly unconventional house “Vetements” — French for “clothes” — has been making waves ever since it burst onto the Paris Fashion Week scene.It’s a must-have brand and already a staple for self-respecting fashionistas.

Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

Photograph: WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Tuesday saw an edgy, almost anti-couture, display that featured mens’ and womens’ looks representing different profiles of people: the punk, the goth, the bride, the soccer hooligan, the portly middle-aged man and the cool business executive.It was exuberant on the layering, and a leitmotif was the overly long flappy belts.

Paris Fashion WeekREX Shutterstock

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

This detail that was also evoked in loose school ties and hanging handbag straps.Couture clothes — which are handmade to measure  — are eye-wateringly expensive, the preserve of the richest people on the planet.To twist the knife, he put his “Vagabond”, as Gvasalia called him, in a raggy-necked blue pullover with the EU flag on the front.

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

The down-and-out look, given a post-Brexit twist, was one of a parade of Paris stereotypes that Gvasalia — tongue very much in cheek — sent down the escalators of the Pompidou Centre art gallery.

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

‘The successor to the Frankenstein jean.’ Photograph: WWD/REX/Shutterstock

The successor to the Frankenstein jean is a double-layered denim jacket that seems to be made of two jackets with the top one inside out. Something like that, anyway, it was hard to be sure on first viewing; the models had clearly been told to walk as quick as possible. Some of them overtook each other on the catwalk, and the whole show was over in six minutes, so details were hard to grasp. Anyway, the easy-win styling trick here is to turn your denim jacket inside out.

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

This was the “City of Light” in all its grandeur and naffness.

Down the runway came the ferociously snooty fur-coated upper class matron, a black bouncer, a German tourist in see-through rain mac and shorts with brown socks and trainers, the office worker in ill-matched suit and anorak as well as the Filipina nanny in her Sunday best knock-off Chanel suit.

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Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
 Gvasalia, 35, appeared to be holding an ironic mirror up to his adopted home, the world’s fashion capital, and to himself — selling the clothes of the poor to the rich.

Tongue in cheek

Gvasalia, who fled his then war-torn homeland as a child for Germany, said he gets his inspiration from riding the metro through one of the poorest and most ethnically diverse parts of Paris.

He also skewered the hipster “Parisienne” in her trench and coat and scooter helmet gentrifying those neighbourhoods, contrasting her with working class “Chav” twins in reworked shellsuits — playing on the age-old prejudices against the poor.

There were a few laugh out loud moments, like the ageing Johnny Hallyday-like Parisian cowboy with “Vetements” stamped across the gusset of his jeans.

Or the German tourist’s green sweatshirt emblazoned with the title of the schlager pop song “I am so lucky to come from Osnabruck”.

Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

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Paris Fashion WeekBut there were also touching moments, the disoriented “Granny” being elbowed out of the away on the catwalk by the other urban tribes, the “Stoner”, the “Secretary”, the “Emo” and “Miss Webcam”.

Haute couture week shows often traditionally finish with a wedding dress. And Gvasalia, ever the provocateur, could not resist the temptation.

His bride was a Generation Z version of “Great Expectations” spinster Miss Havisham, a ball of white tulle who looked like she had just been jilted at the altar.

‘Gorilla sleeves’

Vetements, the uber cool collective Gvasalia leads, has always flirted at the edge of taste, with his Frankenstein suits and Stasi officer post-Soviet chic.

And purists find it hard to swallow that someone who often recuts and reworks existing clothes should be allowed into couture week.

Just to rub salt in the wound, Vetements called their collection ready-to-wear.

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Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
All Images courtesy / credits -Getty /Rex Shutterstock /AFP
But Gvasalia’s every innovation — appropriating logos to trailing “gorilla sleeves”, and pushing Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons’ oversized look to the limit — is followed avidly and more often than not copied.

The brand’s rising status was confirmed when Korean K-pop rapper G-Dragon — who had earlier paid homage to Karl Lagerfeld at his Chanel show — rushed back to his hotel to change into a Vetements hoodie so he could pay tribute to Gvasalia.

The sense of a changing of the guard was palpable.Vetements’ big new thing this time is overlong men’s belts that trail down to the toes. Watch out for versions of them catching in car and metro doors across the world in the coming months.

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