Now in its second season, Vetements is a collective of designers with (heretofore unidentified) Demna Gvasalia at its nominal helm. He’s an alum of Margiela and, more recently, Vuitton, and his compatriots are former colleagues or people he studied with at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. This is a pedigreed lot. And the collection they produced for their first-ever show made a solid case for spontaneous style. The key look here was probably the wide-leg gray sweats worn with a matching one-shoulder top, which was imposingly cool and also just the kind of thing a woman could grab rumpled off the floor and put on in the dark. Hurrah! The sweats had strong competition for show standout from the side-tied trenches and paper-bag-waist skirts, as well as the two-faced dresses in different floral prints front and back.
What all the clothes had in common—aside from the general deconstructive sensibility integral to Vetements—was that they celebrated the awry and offhand. Designers frequently give that idea a whirl, but rarely is the message so crisp, the pieces so relatable, and the execution so unmannered as here. Even the surreal suits, shirts, and coats, with their laughably huge proportions, didn’t seem to be trying too hard so much as spinning the theme in a more editorial direction. This early on, it remains to be seen what Vetements will do—and according to Gvasalia, members of the collective may rotate in and out, so results may vary widely from season to season. But this collection, at least, staked a claim for the brand as one that respects the real life of clothes—the way they’re tossed on, DIYed, worn out, resurrected. The look isn’t polished. But it is, in its own way, refined.