Embody: Vetements

Ari Versluis shoots the golden duo that captures the zeitgeist like no other.

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They form a golden duo that captures the zeitgeist like no other: designer Demna Gvasalia of Vetements and stylist Lotta Volkova. Throughout the past few seasons, this twosome has somehow, astoundingly, imbued a fresh new label with a cult-like status. While Gvasalia has managed to quietly but firmly found the Vetements collective and generate three standout collections, Volkova has played a not insignificant role in giving the label its raw, urban facade—both in terms of styling and arguably also by being the label’s most recognizable face.

Together with photographer Ari Versluis, Glamcult figured it was time to explore the spirit that binds these two. “We met at a dinner party through mutual friends about two years ago,” they tell us, “but it feels like it was much longer ago.” Both on a human and a geographical level, Gvasalia and Volkova share many similarities. “We’re friends, which means we share good and bad moments together, we have fun, go out, hang out, laugh and talk about anything. We also share the same cultural background, being from the former Soviet Union, so there’s a lot of common language.” Their mutual influence is, they say, “above all a discussion and constant exchange of thoughts and ideas”.

Yet the historical term “muse”—often still employed for anyone that influences another by means of body, personality or expression—doesn’t apply to their relationship, says Gvasalia: “Vetements’ muse is any woman wearing our clothes. The idea of a muse is too singular to be applicable today.” Someone who does come very close to the outspoken expressions of Vetements is androgynous model Paul Hameline, subject du jour of buzzing photographers such as Lea Colombo, Lasse Dearman and Brett Lloyd. “Paul is a friend of ours and an über-cool guy with whom we share lots of interests,” the two explain. “His interests and that coolness go well with the Vetements aesthetic.”

From underground dance floors to the cover of i-D Magazine’s big birthday issue, Vetements is taking over the world. That doesn’t keep this duo from staying critical and very true to each of their individual beliefs, however—“we disagree sometimes, and fortunately so!” It also doesn’t keep Gvasalia and Volkova from living fully and recklessly. “Our ultimate night out? Looks like a blackout.”

Photography by Ari Versluis

Words by Leendert Sonnevelt

Embody is an ongoing collaborative project by photographer Ari Versluis and Glamcult, exploring the relationship between influential contemporary fashion designers and those who influence their work. Stay tuned for more.

www.vetementswebsite.com

www.lottavolkova.com

www.ariversluis.com