Vetements raises the heartbeat at Paris fashion week

An aggressive synth soundtrack accompanied scowling models in world’s oldest antiques market

Imagine a fashion show in Paris, and you probably wouldn’t come up with a sea of scowling models stomping between stalls in a flea market while an aggressive synth soundtrack boomed.

That was the set up for Vetements’ autumn/winter 2018 show at the world’s oldest antiques market, Paul Bert Serpette, in the Saint-Ouen district of the French capital.

In only a few years, Vetements has risen from obscurity to become one of the most influential labels in fashion, producing witty visual jokes that appeal to the internet’s sharing economy, such as the infamous £185 DHL T-shirt that became the fashion hit of summer 2016.

This time there was no single logo to home in on. This was a show designed to raise the heart rate – and not just with the music, as models pelted down the catwalk in clusters, presenting so many clothes in so many clashing charity-shop patterns that it was difficult to know where to look.

It began with Vetements’ stylist and catwalk regular Lotta Volkova wearing rich-lady sunglasses and an inside-out gilet. She also wore a glamorous headscarf, as did a good number of the models, often with baseball caps peeking out of the front.

There were surly slogans on T-shirts – from “I don’t care, thanks” to “I’m not deaf, I’m just ignoring you” – and a range of prints across garments, from camouflage trousers to Marilyn Manson shorts to patent boots bearing designs of postcards of Zurich, the city where fashion nerds will be aware that Vetements has recently moved.

There were scarves tied around shoulders, and jumpers and shirts tied around waists and coats worn on top of coats. There were so many layers that at times models’ bulky silhouettes were reminiscent of the scene in Friends in which Joey puts on all of Chandler’s clothes at once.

As the source of so many recent crazes in fashion, from logo socks to “ugly chic” trainers to haute hoodies and frayed-hem jeans, trend watchers would have been paying close attention. Judging by the footwear, the next big thing may well be thick-soled Buffalo Boot-style boot-trainer hybrids that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Camden market in 1996.

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