The Fashion Gangs - The New York Times

PARIS — It was 9:30 p.m. on a Friday and the crowd in the Fourth Arrondissement was a throbbing mass of bodies, crushed against each oth...


PARIS — It was 9:30 p.m. on a Friday and the crowd in the Fourth Arrondissement was a throbbing mass of bodies, crushed against each other and pushed forward, on the verge of uncontrollability. Security guards were shouting and trying to close a pair of ornate iron gates to limit entry, and guests desperate to enter were screaming back.

Not for a rock concert, or a club. For a fashion show.

But then, for many, Marine Serre is much more. One of the first designers to tackle climate change and elevate upcycling to a wearable art, she is something of an evangelical prophet, sitting at the bright center where value systems, clothing and identity meet. And she spawned her own group of obsessive, fashion-centric sidekicks.

For them, his work is not just beautiful things to wear. It is an expression of who they are (or want to be); a passport to a like-minded company. More and more, more and more people want to come in. As the melee at the door demonstrated.

It’s just a shame the time outside was so ugly. Because inside the gallery where his parade took place, the public stuck willy-nilly against the walls, the clothes themselves were formidable.

Madame Serre has, in the past, been delivered to a kind of dystopian doom (understandable, given her subject matter), but this time around she had lightened up, in a way that made the social foundations and ecological aspects of his work. convincing.

Increasingly sophisticated amalgamations of old tartan and houndstooth scarves, cheerful fair isle and argyle knits, were given post-punk life in the form of chic pencil skirt suits and sweater dresses, as if d The former punks had raised an amused eyebrow in the mirror and decided to go for the ball. A trailing dress was made from a pastiche of grunge-era t-shirts. There were corsets in camo damask mixed with household linen, quilted anoraks in regenerated toile de Jouy.

They were awfully pretty. But it’s the fact that they’re mostly made from the detritus of the devastated world – that they tell a story of reinvention and possibility – that gives them their gravitational pull. This created a dedicated group of followers.

It happens, in fashion, from time to time, when a designer manages to rewrite the status quo. Even now, when business demands and quarterly results have become part of the culture, and market research has penetrated deep into the minds of design.

It’s the kind of passionate craze that attached itself not so long ago to Vetements, the anti-fashion fashion brand launched by Demna and Guram Gvasalia that disrupted major brands in Paris around 2015, attracting his own groups of dedicated fans in grunge venues in outlying parts of town and launching Demna into the style stratosphere as a Balenciaga designer.

Now under the sole management of Guram Gvasalia, Vetements has given birth to a sister brand, VTMNTS. Slightly more grown-up, rooted in menswear tailoring but entirely non-binary, and with a slicker, savvier side, it featured double-breasted jackets and double-layered overcoats; pants unzipped at the side to the knee so that they wrap around the calves; and a barcode logo attached to the front of the turtlenecks (supplied with matching gloves) like a mock priest’s collar. The effect was “Fight Club”, but the professional version. If Tyler Durden wore suits, this is what he would wear.

And it’s a craze that once surrounded Yohji Yamamoto, back when he was part of Japan’s new wave of the 1980s, defying accepted conventions around beauty, construction and aspiration, offering layers beautifully dense with deconstructed history.

He’s done it with grace and ease ever since, so he’s lulled his audience into complacency (slow-stepping models don’t help). This season, he’s offered something of a wake-up call by adding denim—denim! Mr. Yamamoto is overdue for a re-examination: his clothes are both funnier and sharper than is often believed.

They have the muscular allure of the content, unlike, say, the techno deco of Lanvin, where Bruno Sialelli strives to distill a particular point of view, or Rochas, where Charles de Vilmorin zigzags among the flowing sleeves of the New Romantic, austere tuxedos and disco. lame with enthusiasm but without obvious logic.

Or even Hermès, where Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski seemed to lose a bit of faith in her own understatement, and slipped with a riff on leather shorts and zip-up rompers paired with knee-high socks and boots perfect for… a very perverted jumper. rich?

Apparently yes. Although it was her subtle way with black leather – coats, pinafores, pleated skirts – and ruffled celadon silks that lingered.

Much like Jonathan Anderson’s increasingly surreal Loewe, planted in the middle of a peat-brown field dotted with giant tumbled orange pumpkins courtesy of artist Anthea Hamilton.

Little leather T-shirt dresses were cast in a blown state, their skirts floating forever to the side. Shiny strapless dresses came with mini cars built into the hem; other longer sheaths had high heels caught in their torso and protruding from one hip. The pursed lips formed the bodice of a slippery sheath. Shiny latex balloons popped out of gauze strips like perverted little appendages, or were attached to trompe-l’oeil screen prints of female bodies. Even the neatest gray flannel shirt had a piece of hairy sheepskin flapping on one leg.

There was a lot to watch, and many of them were absurd (designedly absurd), even though they were based on the ultimate simplicity of two shrunken cardigans paired with baggy pants. Then Mr. Anderson talked about the industrial revolution, feminist art and primitive man, all mixed together in an irrational expression of how we came to an irrational time in an irrationally humorous way, but logic.

Nothing like a shared laugh to draw a crowd.

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