With almost nothing fun to talk about in the fashion world these days except #TeddyGate, the gods shone brightly upon us this morning with a riddle-wrapped-in-an-enigma-wrapped-two-expensive shirts courtesy of the Vetements Instagram account.

In what seems to be a troll of its former creative director Demna Gvasalia’s new collection at Balenciaga — or maybe themselves, or maybe us? — the Zurich-based brand posed a Diet Prada-style side-by-side (above) of two nearly identical black shirts with “Hi, my name is…” chest tags, one Vetements from 2019 and the other Balenciaga from 2020. The caption of the post echoed our thoughts: “WTF?”

But aside from asking what the actual fuck it is, the statement brings up an entire litany of headier questions: Did the brand actually catch Gvasalia, who resigned from his own label last year presumably to focus more on his work at Balenciaga, doing the same joke for two different brands? Or is this some kind of Andy Kaufman-esque publicity stunt that has been back-channel coordinated by both sides? (Remember, Gvasalia’s brother, Guram, remains the CEO of Vetements.) What is “originality” if we can even copy ourselves? And how many fit pic kids will race to drop the price of a transatlantic plane ticket just to rock both in the same outfit?

Whatever is happening here, it comes at a very interesting time. With the epidemic exploding the fashion calendar this summer, Vetements didn’t get a chance to follow up its (triumphant) post-Demna debut at Paris Men’s week, while what was supposed to be Balenciaga's first collection at Couture Week since Cristobál himself was also canceled. With the world starved of postmodern fashion antics, this kind of food for thought really hits the spot.

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