Since Demna Gvasalia was thrust into the spotlight a few years back, he’s faced constant accusations of ripping off Maison Margiela, the house he cut his teeth at in his pre-Vetements years. Margiela’s blown-out silhouettes, deconstructionist methods and think-outside-the-box philosophy have been omnipresent in Gvasalia’s work, and at Vetements’ FW18 show in Paris, he finally addressed them.
One of the show’s opening looks, a tee smothered in childish scribbling reading “elephant in the room,” was a blatant homage to Margiela — who used to have children write his show invites — and a riposte to the designer’s many, many detractors.
The biggest Margiela reference — the biggest elephant in the room — was the split-toed boots that walked down the runway. As @diet_prada, one of Highsnobiety’s favorite Instagram accounts, points out above, the shoes are a blatant homage to Margiela’s legendary Tabi boots, which themselves were inspired by traditional Japanese footwear.
Backstage, Gvasalia explained to assembled journalists and critics that everyone appropriates ideas from other places, and that to him, Margiela wasn’t a house, it was a philosophy. He added that criticism from accounts like @diet_prada are healthy and help keep fashion transparent.
Elsewhere, Vetements returned to its roots for FW18. A cramped showspace space echoed the brand’s early presentations in strip clubs and Chinese restaurants, while grungy styling and ultra-Normcore sensibilities were as Vetements as it gets. Gvasalia’s no doubt noticed the smash-hit success that was his “Triple S” sneaker for Balenciaga — Vetements had its own take on the massive sneaker trend stomping round the runway.
Tribal designs, meanwhile, just cemented the fact that in today’s fashion climate, bad taste trumps good taste.