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The World According To Demna Gvasalia

To kickstart the new season, we breakdown the things that make fashion's most talked-about designer and his brands tick.

Demna Gvasalia’s rise to fashion stardom is one for the history books. Virtually unknown to the masses just a handful of seasons ago, the Georgian is now one of fashion’s most bankable designers with not one but two labels under his belt. One storied, the other hitting headlines left, right and centre.

Surely, there must be some secret to his success. While Gvasalia has credited social media, he’s also got that certain something that you just can’t put your finger on. I mean, this is the guy who sells $1,000 hoodies to an eager audience – and it ain’t even made of gold. You may complain about it, pretend not to care, but deep down inside, you know you want a slice of that Vetements/Balenciaga pie. To figure out what makes Demna Gvasalia and his labels tick, we scoured the Internet for the bits and pieces of that essential Gvasalia-ness. Doc Martens, a soft spot for the ’90s and just a generally cool and practical outlook – it’s all in the mix.


He has a trove of vintage finds from the ’90s.
While other designers have couture from the ’60s and earlier in their archives, Gvasalia prefers to stock his with mainstream American brands pieces from the ’90s. That explains the hoodies and overload of denim at Vetements.


He wears Doc Martens.
The next time someone disses you for being too old for Doc Martens, just tell them that one of the coolest people in fashion right now wears them – daily. To further prove your point, show them this.


He dares to make fun of fashion – just a little bit.
Apparently, Gvasalia sometimes wears sunglasses in his sun-drenched Le Marais apartment. So very fashion. He’s joking, of course. Or is he?


He sources his “models” from everywhere.
Sure, he’s got some top names in his runway line-up – Julia Nobis in a bejewelled turtleneck and red puffer jacket deserves special mention – but Gvasalia is also known to street cast his models, from clubs to social media to his workroom. Lotta Volkova, Gvasalia’s righthand stylist, walked Vetements’ Fall/Winter 2016 runway, for example.


He is surrounded by super-cool, kick-ass ladies.
“I need to have a woman next to me […] I don’t know how it feels to put something on—like those thigh boots! I’d love to know, but I don’t!” he tells Vogue in an interview. That stirrup-over-heels look championed in Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection? You can thank Volkova for that. (The “original” look involved vintage Adidas stirrups from the ’70s.) Gvasalia also has a crazy-chic grandma who wears top-to-toe black, patent boots included.


He isn’t trying to be “anti” anything.
You can label Balenciaga and Vetements as fashion anarchy all you want – but that’s not what Gvasalia does. “In an interview with Refinery29, he says, “All these ‘anti-‘ kind of things, and the idea of ‘challenging.’ I don’t really care about challenging the industry.”


In fact, he isn’t really trying to say anything. Not intentionally, anyway. 
That DHL t-shirt? Don’t overthink it. “I find it quite interesting and positive that a yellow T-shirt with a red print can raise so many questions. But I don’t care about answering those questions. We just made a T-shirt for fun, and I think it’s cool,” he tells Refinery29.


He has a very practical approach to the fashion business…
“It is not about exhibitions, it’s about someone’s closet. It’s a business first of all and it’s about people wearing the clothes and the more the merrier for me,” he tells The Telegraph. Sounds like a certain other designer we know…


…but he knows his clothes are expensive. (And he’s not entirely sure if he’ll buy them himself, either.)
He admits to The Telegraph that many of his friends can’t afford his clothes. “My friends very often can’t afford the clothes. Like myself, I wear prototypes but I don’t think I’m crazy fashion enough to go and buy those things. I’d rather go on holiday. I feel like it brings more use.” It is also the reason why Gvasalia throws in lower-priced items into his collections, like those “Polizei” and “Vetements” raincoats.


Still, he appreciates the hype behind Vetements.
Nothing makes a designer more personable and likeable than humility. On Vetements’ unprecedented success, Gvasalia says, “I guess I don’t really know the reason of this kind of recognition. We didn’t count on it, but the fact that it’s happening is amazing for us.”


Runway Photos: Vogue.com

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