Demna Gvasalia, Vetements founder and Balenciaga's artistic director, talks about Vetements and the release of “Vetements by Pierre-Ange Carloti”
On the occasion of the book launch “Vetements by Pierre-Ange Carloti”, Numéro met up with the label founder, who is also Balenciaga's artistic director.
Four collections were enough for the label Vetements to become the new fashion trend, and to see its leader Demna Gvasalia being appointed at the head of the Balenciaga house. Follower of a post-modern irony, the collective of creative people with a neo-punk mind, introduced a collector’s book during the men catwalks in Paris, it traces the last days preceding his Spring-Summer catwalk 2016. Printed in 500 copies only, the work has unleashed a crowd of trendy kids coming in hundreds to line up, hoping to leave with this bible « that will be legendary soon » according to the publisher Idea Books (selling its books at the stores Dover Street Market, Comme des Garçons, Trading museum and on Instagram). Numéro had a conversation with Demna Gvasalia between two autograph requests from the kids going into ecstasy.
Numéro : How did the idea of this book emerge ?
Demna Gvasalia : Pierre-Ange Carlotto who made the pictures contained in this book, is a friend. He wanted to shoot our lookbook and I personally wanted images a bit more easygoing, spontaneous, transcribing the preparation of the collection. So just before the catwalk, he spent 3 entire days at the studio with his camera. He was taking pictures permanently : during the collection preparation, the catwalk and the aftershow party following it. In the end, we had more than 500 gorgeous pictures telling the whole story of the collection. At the same time, the publishier came to propose us a book project. I told myself « it’s fate ». Because if we didn’t make this book, these pictures would have simply end up on Instagram and a big part of them would have never been shown.
You always claimed to work in a collective way without a real hierarchy at the studio of Vetements, is this book the reflection of this state of mind ?
It actually contributes to pass on our state of mind, our spontaneity in particular, our energy, making the models always walk at a quick pace during our catwalks. My muses are not inaccessible creatures but those people around us. (he shows the dozen of kids around him wearing xxl bomber jackets, hoodies, caps and scarves of the russian designer Gosha Rubchiinsky) The book is also useful to show that making fashion is not only about stress, it is also fun. The day we won’t have fun anymore, we will stop. When we launched our brand, everybody told us we were crazy, but we knew we had to do it.
Today, in parallel of the next collection Vetements, you are getting ready your first collection for Balenciaga. How do you feel about this full split ?
Balenciaga is another story, but I feel it exciting to work for these two brands at the same time. I am a day at Vetements, and a day at Balenciaga – Paris left bank. It’s two worlds apart. So it’s for me the chance to pass on a creative message in two different ways.
From now, the journalists are looking for « the new Vetements », fearing to let go the young prodigy, who could be appointed at the head of a big fashion house overnight…
Do you have the feeling you have brought a change in the fashion industry ?
Really ? I did not know our label had such an influence. I think it’s a good time period for fashion anyways, we are finally witnessing a renewal.
Is this new trend due to the influence of social medias ?
Certainly, yes. The social medias are a part of our lives, we spend so much time on our iPhones within a day. I think we have to accept it and not being nostalgic. It’s tools we must know how to use.
Interview by Delphine Roche
Read our article on Vetements.
Portrait : Pierre-Ange Carlotti