A Look at VLONE's First Fashion Show
A few days ago in Paris, the infamous Young Lord (aka A$AP Bari) presented his debut collection for VLONE. Though the label was founded in 2014 alongside A$AP Rocky, this collection represents Bari's first foray into cut and sew following the success of the past few years, which has included collaborations with Nike and Hiroshi Fujiwara's Fragment Design, as well as pop-up shops in LA, Hong Kong and at SXSW. Unlike previous releases, however, Saturday's show featured next to none of the staples we have come to expect from VLONE - a welcome relief after what feels like years of seeing lurid orange 'V's plastered across street style sections. In lieu of t-shirts and hoodies, Bari sent models down the plastic covered runway in a variety of looks, featuring short sleeved shirts, distressed denim, nylon coach jackets with colored topstitching and even a number of ultra-cropped jackets, the hemlines of which were closer to necklines. Alongside these, several new colourways of the VLONE x Nike collaboration were shown, this time on an Air Force One high, something that should set sneakerheads and carnivorous resellers salivating.
Personal favorites from the collection include the laced leather pants, the VLONE branded bondage pants, the white denim and black waxed jackets (which feature subtle branding in the form of a large 'V' extending from the bottom of the jacket to the top of the front chest pockets) as well as the white short sleeved shirt and the bootleg-esque Tony Montana shirt. That being said, the collection also featured several major misses: the tiger camo felt boring and outdated, and the 'smiley face' pattern came far too close to the work of Mark McNairy to go unnoticed. Beyond this, the track stripes that appeared on several jackets and pants are truly reaching the point of played out (see: Daniel Patrick, Represent, Fear of God et al.) while the coach jackets and denim jackets (which featured VLONE's trademark 'FRIENDS' patched across the front) evoked cheap 90s sportswear and a preschoolers arts and crafts project respectively; and not in a nostalgic, "Oh isn't that nice" way. Finally, the aforementioned ultra-cropped jackets were so completely incongruous with everything else that was shown that one gets the feeling they were only included to try and give the collection some high fashion clout, something which, unfortunately, definitely did not work.
In spite of this, Bari's first collection isn't at all bad, and represents a promising first step into "high fashion", displaying the Harlem designer's development and hopeful progression away from the brightly colored, highly branded pieces he has been known for in the past. What exactly it means for VLONE's future is hard to say, as this collection could be seen either as a shift in a new direction for the label or simply as a side current to accompany their usual offerings. One thing is for sure, we can certainly expect more from the Young Lord than just screen printing, and I for one am excited to see what he comes up with.
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