The best style statements this year have been self-referential. A few months ago, we saw street style stars in that hideous yellow Vetements DHL t-shirt posing in front of actual DHL vans – which was swiftly trumped by a viral photo of Ken Allen, CEO of DHL, in that very same t-shirt. While we’re unsure if the act is an endorsement or subversion, one thing is for sure – Allen levelled up on irony and won Who Wore It Better.
A model (left) and CEO of DHL Ken Allen wearing the Vetements DHL t-shirt
Since its debut in 2014, the Paris-based label’s retro streetwear influences and anti-fashion positioning have been making waves. Last week, Vetements earned another badge of cool when Celine Dion, the singer responsible for the Titanic hit that haunted my youth, stepped out in the brand’s Titanic sweatshirt. Naturally, the internet went wild, even though the $1,200 sweatshirt resembles a tacky souvenir salvaged from a clothing warehouse that went bust in the late Nineties.
Even luxury fashion labels who have typically eschewed millennial-friendly humour have warmed up to the tongue-in-cheek shenanigans of the younger demographic. The Giorgio Armani’s menswear Spring/Summer 2017 presentation last month featured a surprising design, a t-shirt with an archival image of Giorgio Armani – an unexpected departure from a brand that’s known for putting the likes of Leonard DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in sharp suits.
The celebrity gossip mill had their own #MetaMoment earlier this month as well. After weeks of tabloid speculation over whether Hiddleswift was real, Tom Hiddleston silenced doubters (or fueled more contention?) and gave us a giant wink by wearing an “I ♥ TS” t-shirt at Taylor Swift’s Fourth of July party. Nothing says true love like a slogan tee with your bae’s initials, indeed.
Of course, when it comes to making a statement, nobody does it better than Queen Bey. In February, the singer experienced backlash after the release of her Formation video. Several police unions even called for a boycott of her world tour (which was unsuccessful, obviously), as they took issue with a scene in the video that featured a little black boy dancing in front of a line of officers in riot gear (Beyoncé later explained that she was against police brutality and injustice, and was not trying to convey an anti-police message).
Beyoncé's crew wearing merchandise from her Formation tour
In response, she responded in true blue Beyoncé fashion (read: #winning): Her Formation tour merchandise included t-shirts that say “Boycott Beyoncé”. Besides capitalising on the drama with self-deprecating humour, this move also shut down naysayers by proving that what they say can’t hurt her, and she’s going to stand by what she stands for. #LongLiveTheQueen