For AW21 av vattev Gathers a Generation of Dreamers
For his third collection, Central Saint Martins grad Antonio Vattev looks at the Apollo 11 moon landing, and how it birthed a generation who saw endless possibilities.
Watch av vattev’s music video presentation for his AW21 collection titled ‘Generation in Rehearsal’ at your own risk. Maybe it’s the models dancing with abandon, or the flashing lights, or maybe it’s just the infectious Faux Real song (produced exclusively for the collection), but the video will immediately make you pine for a return to nightlife. “It’s a visual escape from what we have face every day,” says Antonio Vattev. It’s only his third full collection, but the Bulgaria-born, London-based designer joins the growing list of Central Saint Martins grads who are making a splash in fashion—particularly in menswear. He already counts retailer Browns as a supporter and has renowned stylist Ib Kamara as a collaborator, and is quickly gaining traction among fashion’s most astute observers.
That’s attention can be attributed to his philosophy towards building his brand. While at CSM Vattev worked at Dover Street Market, then had an internship at Lanvin, before being hired as a Junior Designer at Saint Laurent. All of this was to learn the ins-and-outs of the industry from every angle available, and it distilled into two viable paths for Vattev to choose. “You can make massive noise around you, and everyone is looking at you, but you burn out quick,” he explains. “The other more sustainable way to create a brand is when you stay true to yourself and learn from your previous collections, and develop a style you really believe in. This way is more difficult because you need to give more time for people to see you, to understand you, to like you, but in a way it’s a business, and i find this business much more sustainable because I’m trying to create clothes that speak for themselves, they’re strong pieces, they’re not seasonal.”
For AW21, that vision is getting more actualized. Twisted jumpers, corduroy blue suits, and a striking emerald green leather jacket stand out as marquee pieces from the collection—which included a few womenswear looks, a first for the brand. Vattev pulled inspiration from an endless fashion well—the ’70s. Specifically, he looked at the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, and the effect that event had on the perception of possibility and of freedom. “I found lots of references about how people imagined the future in the ’70s, and everything was linked to the moon landing, everything was linked to space, and how beautiful and amazing it was going to be.” It’s an idea Vattev found lacking in our own society, exacerbated by the crippling effect of the pandemic. “Nobody has this idea about the future, everyone is trying to survive now. We just want to go back to normal. The whole idea [for the collection] about the moon landing was not that we have to escape the earth, but just show how people back in time had an idea about the future.”
In that sense ‘Generation in Rehearsal’ is rooted in optimism, and Vattev’s video presentation is emblematic of that. Music was the other major influence on this collection, with references to David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Grace Jones, all of whom represented the exuberant side of that era. With the flashing lights and the dancing models and the Faux Real soundtrack, it’s not a stretch to say Vattev created his own Studio 54, even if it was just visually, for a brief moment in time. His collection is an escape, but it’s also a reminder that we need to create our own paths to rapturous joy once again. “For everyone around me, including me, it’s so hard to get motivated because you don’t see the future. And it’s the time again when we can start dreaming about the future, our new way, our new dreams.”