Anthony Vaccarello cast a spell last season with a Saint Laurent collection that took cues from Paloma Picasso, whose theatrical sense of dress in the ’80s was said to have inspired house founder Yves Saint Laurent and nudged his creativity out of bourgeois codes.
For fall, Vaccarello name-checked Nancy Cunard, a shipping heiress and writer whose reed-thin body and stacks of ivory bracelets made her a style icon in the ’20 and ’30s. In his show notes, the designer noted that she “dressed audaciously ahead of her time — giving a masculine wardrobe her own indelible imprint.”
In a season of strong shoulders, the house of Saint Laurent has dibs, and the collection hinged on handsomely tailored woolen coats that narrowed past the hips or beyond the knee, where a silky, fluted skirt fluttered underneath. It’s an alluring and romantic silhouette, and the models thrust their hands in their pockets and hunched their shoulders against the evening chill in the black box of a runway theater, which shed its walls when the show started, revealing a view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
The combination of beefy coats and the long, flowing dresses brought to mind off-duty Pina Bausch dancers — elegant, dignified, lost in their thoughts after a wrenching performance. Here was a more introspective Saint Laurent collection — and no less impactful for it.
Variations on a long and slender silhouette dominated this subdued show, which Vaccarello dedicated to his father, who had passed away suddenly only a few days ago. A small black card in his memory was affixed to every meticulously upholstered velvet seat in the vast, carpeted set, decked out with mirrors and lacquer in an Art Deco style, another key reference this season, felt mainly in the clean and bold shapes of the meticulous clothes.
With several cast members of “Euphoria” in attendance, plus a number of Korean pop stars, it was business as usual outside the venues, where teens swarmed with iPhones and squealed with each arrival.
Despite the restrained mood, the collection was bold, counter to the full-throttle sexiness on display in other fashion capitals, seducing with body-hugging jersey gowns with occasional flashes of transparency, and hulking faux fur coats with perhaps only a spritz of Opium worn underneath.
The show climaxed with a trio of tuxedos, one of the founder’s most iconic styles, first introduced in 1966. They could only be described as perfect.