The fall/winter 2016 edition of Haute Couture Week kicks off in Paris on July 3, when accredited fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, Giambattista Valli, Maison Margiela and more will present their most exquisite (and expensive) creations, all made by hand and using the most elevated techniques. See, not just any label can sign up for a spot on the calendar: In order to be considered a haute couture house, a company must be vetted by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, French fashion's governing body, and meet a series of strict requirements. (For example, the label must have an official atelier in Paris with at least 15 full-time employees.)
However, there's always an exception to the rule, and every season, a handful of brands are selected to join the couture calendar as guest members of the Fédération Française de la Couture. This time around, the marquee name of the bunch is buzzy French label Vetements — one that's become so polarizing in the more fashion-y corners of the Internet that it's even spawned parodies, most notably Vetememes. Head designer Demna Gvasalia is undeniably well-trained (he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in Belgium and cut his teeth at Louis Vuitton and Margiela) and his debut collection as creative director of Balenciaga was generally praised.
But Vetements, the brand, is about an anti-fashion attitude, focusing on what people are actually wearing in the streets as opposed to cumbersome runway looks or the manufactured street style of the fashion week variety. Known for its oversized hoodies and deconstructed denim — both of which retail for $750 and above — we're very curious to see what the Vetements take on haute couture will be. Perhaps a hand-stitched windbreaker with the name of a shipping company delicately embroidered on the chest? Or a grungy silk dress covered in organza florals? The possibilities are endless, and we're intrigued.
In addition to Vetements, four other houses will show in a guest slot: J. Mendel, Yuima Nakazato, Francesco Scognamiglio and Iris Van Herpen, who's shown her collections during couture week since 2011.