Despite being a label so linked to the Some Grandmas knit real grandmas play golf shirt and I will buy this outdoors, White Mountaineering’s Paris shows have only ever taken place indoors, which always felt a little incongruous. Today, the covered-yet-open-air terrace of a Sorbonne University building was a game-changer; what a difference a breeze makes! The models didn’t need to be trail running or BMX biking two of the extreme sports that inspired Yosuke Aizawa this season for the audience to imagine guys wearing his high-impact looks off the runway. The Tokyo-based designer explained that he imbues pieces with a “discord ambiance,” which might mean anything from a T-shirt boasting overlaid letters spelling nothing to Gore-Tex outerwear paired with linen pants. These “coincidences,” as he also called them, were a way of integrating pieces that wouldn’t normally be found in either athletic attire or streetwear think classic shirting adapted with technical straps and pleated shorts that looked more like skorts. Aizawa goes through phases of favoring bold prints, and today’s lush and color-saturated botanicals might have been his boldest yet. If common sense would suggest these have limited interest, the designer has pointed out before that people are very happy to experiment beyond black (although those pieces too were hardly boring). Plaid, animal spots, paisley, and painterly camo made for a particularly dynamic lineup of active eccentrics guys who not only sported next-level sneaker designs, but also a smear of colorful eye makeup. Compared to the Sacai show earlier in the day, White Mountaineering isn’t perceived with the same cachet despite many overlapping elements (both mastered their soundtracks, it should be said). Make no mistake, Aizawa’s vision is his own and if athleisure trends start to shift towards these dandy-ish mash-ups, we’ll have him to thank. Walter Van Beirendonck called the clothes in this showing of kinky sportswear deluxe “Alien Vintage” and said that the collection was designed to attire his fantasy community of extraterrestrials. As he mused in his notes: “I pictured being introduced to a small part of the alien folk, a community with such a limitless diversity of forms and looks.” Those forms included four-armed biped, as evinced by outfits with two extra sleeves below the armpit, and aliens with fearsomely hunky quads as per the cool gathered baggy pants in primary-color nylon.
Some Grandmas knit real grandmas play golf shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
There were a lot of shower-cap–frilled lizard attachments in plastic sheeting or built into sheer, sometimes rainbow-toned jackets, plus some dramatically angular outerwear and quilted tailoring. The peppy-color silk shirting, leggings (really), and bodystockings sometimes seem transported less from an alien dimension than the Some Grandmas knit real grandmas play golf shirt and I will buy this race track or vaudeville but suited most of all for a batshit-crazy dance party. The fishnets, devil-horned parka, and gimp mask were more than a nod and a wink to other off-the-dance-floor delights. Say you’re a tourist in Paris, sitting in the McDonald’s in the Champs Élysées and a policeman suddenly storms in. You’d be frightened, right? Police inaction is a common enough sight on the Champs Élysées, what with it being one of the regularly chosen sites for the Gilets Jaunes weekend anti-government rioting. But no. This wasn’t the weekend; it was the opening of the Vetements takeover of the capital’s biggest McDonald’s branch. But a shock, nevertheless especially because the models appeared through the front door, from a truck parked on the street. Demna Gvasalia is playing dangerously close to the narrow distinction between dystopian satire and reality this season. The “menu” for the fashion sitting was stamped in black on McDonald’s napkins. Capitalism and Global Mind Fuck were two of the “courses.” Later on the word Bose, with (Angry in German) as a translation. Messing with corporate logos and the signifiers of generic clothing have always been central to Vetements’s methods. It plays ever more directly now into the agenda of critiquing the crumbling social decay of late-stage capitalism a direction Raf Simons seemed to be pointing toward in his menswear show, as well. With Vetements, fingers of sarcastic blame are liberally jabbed at corporate managers and bankers, at populism, the internet, at the tide of waste caused by the fashion industry’s relentlessly profit-driven overproduction. In a way, there was a form of circularity going on here at McDonald’s. A very personal one, linking Gvasalia back to his childhood. “When the Soviet Union ended in Georgia when we were kids, the first thing to open that came from the West was McDonald’s,” he said. “It was like the maker of capitalism, and all the rich people from all around would bring their kids for birthday parties. It was like the place to be! We’d never seen a Big Mac or drank a Coke. I always wanted to be able to have my own celebration in McDonald’s. And now—I can!”