Chanel remains a constant in fashion's ever-changing game of musical chairs. One can always count on Karl for agreeable, distinctively "Chanel" clothes; the suits, the tweed, and the little Lagerfeld embellishments that allow the clothes to be something of fantasy, just as if his drawings simply lept into life, while other major fashion houses seem to be going through a constant state of disarray. At first glance, Chanel seems completely ridiculous and taken too seriously, but this couture collection made me realize that Karl's material creations are just realized drawings and dreams. Everything from the gaudy patterns to the bulky cut and overdone hair and makeup support Karl's dream of fashion and, in a larger sense, his outlook on the world. After all, no one can have such a long and successful career as Karl Lagerfeld has by taking fashion too seriously. This collection combined genius fantasy with the indulgent decadence of couture, and the result was, if not only beautiful, a reassuring moment in fashion's current confusion.
We all know fashion is a sucker for a little rule breaking, especially when that rule breaking occurs within the power of the industry. Young, buzzy brand Vetements is the current poster child for industry-contained rebellion, with enough nonconformity to make them seem "edgy" and enough obedience to the system to be successful. Vetements sells the illusion of a youthful, DGAF attitude at a price actual innovative younguns wouldn't dream of paying. The actual "cool kids" don't wear Vetements, they inspire Vetements.
Although Vetements hasn't introduced a groundbreaking form of fashion, the Paris-based brand's way of thinking is something the rest of fashion should pay attention to. They politely question the system of fashion, which often results in special treatment and exclusivity, the most recent and obvious example of which being their latest show in Paris. Not only did they hold the show in a department store, with other brands' logos ironically in the background, but they showed during couture week, a time usually reserved for fashion's elite. To be clear, the show was not couture, but they were invited to show during couture week, which is a strange honor. The clothes were oversized and deconstructed and hard to picture outside of the show. Nothing groundbreaking; nothing special.
And yet, Vetements is topping headlines in almost all areas of the industry. The appeal of Vetements is their ability to color outside of the lines ever so slightly and in the most controlled manner. They play the game by twisting the rules, and it's confusing and enthralling everyone in fashion. Fashion right now is confusing in terms of rules and boundaries, but Vetements just happens to be using it to their strength.