Fashion’s enfant terrible Demna Gvasalia quit his uber-hip streetwear brand Vetements, in a move that shocked the industry.
The Georgian designer took Paris fashion by storm in 2014 with his customised $800 hoodies and ironic “poverty chic” aesthetic, taking the clothes of the poor and selling them to the rich.
His brother Guram, with whom he co-founded Vetements, confirmed his departure.
The 38-year-old made headlines from the start by cheekily appropriating corporate logos, including McDonald’s, DHL and Interpol, and staging his shows in gay sex clubs and downmarket Chinese restaurants.
Gvasalia was not afraid to turn the consumerist joke on himself with a $790 hoodie bearing the legend, “It’s my birthday and all I got was this overpriced hoodie from Vetements”.
He achieved further notoriety with his $2,000 “Ikea” bag – a luxury leather version of the 99-cent original – for Balenciaga after he was handed the keys to the venerable Paris fashion house in 2015.
“What Demna has accomplished over the past few years represents a key chapter in the story of Vetements,” Guram Gvasalia told Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).
Gvasalia’s unorthodox approach – staging his last show at a branch of McDonald’s on the Champs Elysees, full of cynical jokes about capitalism and branding – has made him one of the most influential creators in record time.
In a parting statement Monday to WWD, he said that he had done what he had set out to do.
“I started Vetements because I was bored of fashion, and against all odds fashion did change once and forever since Vetements appeared.
“So I feel that I have accomplished my mission of a conceptualist and design innovator. Vetements has matured into a company that can evolve its creative heritage into a new chapter on its own,” he added.
It is unclear whether the demands of the increasingly frenetic fashion schedule contributed to Gvasalia’s decision, although he is expected to present Balenciaga’s spring 2020 show in Paris later this month.