PARIS — Vetements may not be the brand everybody likes, but on Sunday in Paris it became pretty clear it is the brand our current A.D.H.D., digi-surfing, politicized world deserves.
Consider: Since bursting onto the ready-to-wear scene four years ago it has:
1.) disrupted the status quo by twisting perspectives on everything from proportion to what constitutes beauty and banality, luring black cars to random parts of Paris as editors went on a Pavlovian journey in search of cool;
3.) been charged with appropriation and fake newness, since much of what the brand is known for echoes previous work by designers such as Martin Margiela;
4.) decreed the death of the system and combined men’s wear and women’s wear on the precollection schedule, as opposed to the usual collection one;
7.) as of this week and its 10th show — a meditation on “family and war and violence” as seen through the highly personal lens of Mr. Gvasalia — experienced a rebirth.
It happened under a highway overpass on the far edges of the 19th Arrondissement — an area of Paris colonized in part by the disenfranchised — where the brand constructed a U-shaped wedding banquet table/runway flanked by chairs tied with streaming white tulle bows and covered in a white tablecloth.
As the traffic roared overhead, the spike-booted and spike-sneakered boys and girls stomped in a cyclone of refashioned punk. There were tattooed flesh-colored tulle T-shirts. Shredded denim chaps and camo overskirts. Sweatpantsuits with flared bottoms and oversize tops. Hooded leather trench-coated storm troopers and anoraks made from the American and Turkish flags. Russian swear words on sweats and Russian scarf dresses; Looney Tunes-caricature tops and waxed picnic-blanket-check maxi skirts. There were great fan-pleated dresses draped to billow out back in the wind, and giant shoulder-padded jackets and T-shirts with targets on the front and little bullet holes in the back.
“I’ve always done shows that are just about clothes,” Mr. Gvasalia said afterward, “but I changed and my approach to fashion changed. I went back to my darkest places, to storytelling” — to his youth in Georgia during the civil war and genocide of the 1990s — “to the way masks are used to erase identity, and the way slogans are a voice for youth that does not have a voice. I told my shrink she should come and see the show.”
If the clothes looked substantively familiar that’s because they were. Not in their details (the Russian swear words) but in the way they referenced styles past as a primal scream. Mr. Gvasalia is not yet a great designer but he is a great channeler of the inchoate fury coursing through the atmosphere.
After the show, as a boy in a full suit of Tin Man armor and silver face paint asked for a selfie, Mr. Gvasalia — no longer hiding behind the scrim of “the collective” as he did when Vetements began — noted that he was often asked what he would do differently when it came to his brand. “This would have been my first show,” he said. Consider it such.