Many influences have conspired to transform the look of luxury fashion from gold-buttoned jackets and brocade dresses into an aesthetic that is less formal, far grittier and rich with imperfections and ambiguities.
The rise of athleticism has meant that track pants and hoodies are now part of the aesthetic vocabulary at brands such as Gucci, Givenchy and Chanel. Gym basics are as legitimate a source of inspiration for designers as a classical painting or an art-house film.
What counts as luxury fashion has also expanded, thanks to millennial consumers whose idea of an enviable fashion find is not a tailored suit or a designer saddlebag but a pair of limited-edition sneakers or a leather jacket graffitied with white stripes.
What else? The porousness of gender lines has made womenswear less frilly and menswear more dynamic.
One of the leading brands redefining luxury is Vetements. Less than three years old, the fashion collective, led by Demna Gvasalia, has turned oversize jackets, banal work shirts, recycled fur, and giant parkas into objects of desire. Notably, it transformed a DHL T-shirt into a status symbol. It has been invited to show more recent work as part of Paris’s haute couture calendar.
In 2015, Balenciaga, the storied brand that in the 1950s popularized bubble skirts and pillbox hats, named Gvasalia its creative director. For its spring 2017 collection, he created trench coats and blazers with exaggerated shoulders, devilishly garish floral-print dresses and handbags modeled after cheap nylon shoppers.
Luxury evolves with each generation. This is its latest iteration.
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