Spandex topped with a spray of logos
Sandwiched by globs of meme-worthy dumbassness
Drip down a wad of duct tape
Vibrated at the frequency of death metal and held by an office clip
Finished with a rainbow sticker
Shot through a smartphone
Delivered by an Amazon drone
Straight to the limbic system.
Dry rot accompanied by a sensation that can only be described as absorbent. Spongey. Fluffy. Chemically derived, the consistency of “bread” expanding infinitely inside Subway Sub’s baked fresh ovens.
What’s this feeling? A little confused? Self-satisfied with a hint of nausea? Definitely an outbreak of the infectious state we’re calling generophilia.
Generophilia is both asexual and fetishistic. An allegiance corporate and crust punk. Anarchy and commerce uncomfortably fused at onset soothed only by a vapour rich cough drop confection known as Vetements.
Read the full review after the jump!
Titled “The Elephant in the Room,” Demna Gvasalia’s Fall 2018 collection for his label Vetements (Vetememes if you’ve got the fever) is an offering of reanimated generics. Shown at the Paul Bert Sepette Market (transl. Paul Blart Mall Cop) just north of Paris, the collection is a wardrobe skimmed off the top of commercial euro flea market wares, repurposed, recreated and reimagined to be served back (with a slew of extra zeros) to the insatiable luxury market.
Resulting is a collection appearing to be scads of cheap floral print scarves, combustable souvenir banners, camo morph suits and a clutter of knockoffs reverberating with the gluttonous echo of torrents of designer-licensed merch past. The clothes themselves, pages and pages of search engine results for generia studded with chunks of brand name references, collaborations and a flurry of logos. Planet Hollywood, No Fear , Oakley and Disney to name a scant few.
This is styling over substance. At best, the collection is a grouping of warmed over Margiela concepts, the house that formerly employed Gvasalia and his chief influence. Margiela, master of the generic-turned-luxurious through innovative construction and textural transformation of the everyday, is also the “Elephant in the Room” that the show’s title refers to.
This elephant shaped shadow that Gvasalia summons, and attempts to tuck and roll out of, only looms larger for being conjured. Gvasalia tries in vain to switch off the “debilitating creative interference” created by Margiela’s legacy leaving his ideas stuck in the shallow end. Simply turning a jacket inside out or sewing a scarf to a hem is a soggy proposition.
Employing the illusion of garments that have been worn and repurposed, sans the transformative power Margiela was capable of wielding, is a muddied appropriation of mama elephant’s tenants. Gvasalia’s street casting of models that are “people who really dress like this” serves only to highlight the ultimate crassness of selling counter culture rip-offs to the bourgeoisie.
Rutted by the pachyderm he brought to the circus, Gvasalia can probably blame the purse-first hollow algorithm that he applies to his creative process. Gvasalia states he won’t push the development of any idea that takes “more than 20 minutes” to spark but is more than happy to flog merch online before it exists in the material world. High on his own supply, Gvasalia pays lip service to creating for creation’s sake and working outside the system that keeps an endless stream of goods arriving in stores but still manages to flood retailers with expensive logoed hoodies season after season.
Before you accuse me of sewing shrimp into the drapes of Vetements’ atelier, I have to come clean. The transmissible generophilia sure to be generated by this collection isn’t totally lost on me. Gvasalia’s gold passport seal stamped slides, molded duct tape tabi boots and composite “designer” sunnies all give me a twinge of the Vetememes fever.
While I do appreciate the occasional corporate-mouth-hug of a Subway Sub stuffed with winkey-eyed fashion it’s the crass after taste of a 6-inch at 12-inch prices that have me spitting instead of swallowing.
– Review by Nug Judy (@bahteepolitic)