The 1930s continue to fascinate designers this season. At Bottega Veneta in Milan last week, Matthieu Blazy explained why he drew on the period and futurist artist Giacomo Balla for some prints: “It was the birth of modernity, you know, those years. They were the game changer.”
Anthony Vaccarello’s beguiling open-air show for Saint Laurent took place Tuesday night at the foot of the Palais de Chaillot, constructed in 1937, his models rounding an imposing fountain. Rick Owens, another fan of the ’30s, has done runway shows inside the building and he loves to dine at Girafe, a restaurant tucked into one wing, and soak up the moderne architecture and period decor.
Vaccarello cited Martha Graham as the jumping off point for his collection, characterizing her 1930 choreography for “Lamentation,” with its tubes of fabric as costumes, as having “a profound impact on visual culture and fashion, an influence that rippled far beyond the world of dance and across time.”
Backstage, Vaccarello confessed that he became aware of Graham via Madonna, who attended her Manhattan dance school and named her album “Madame X” after the modern-dance maverick. While clarifying that Yves Saint Laurent might not have directly referenced Graham, the spirit was felt in his diaphanous dresses from 1969 and hooded looks in couture shows from 1985 and 2002.
Long, clinging, nearly sheer silk knit dresses have been turning up in several spring collections and Vaccarello made them the basis for his show, typically paired with strong-shouldered wool or leather coats that grazed the stone palace flooring he laid out.
There were also meaty leather bombers, one glistening like a glass of Château Latour. All the colors in this confident collection, while autumnal, were beautiful and original, often worn head to toe, or in sophisticated combinations. A pointy sandal in olive satin poked out from a camel ensemble: Sensational.
Once again, Vaccarello filed down his fashion message to a sharp point, parading only a few key silhouettes, including terrific pajama-inspired satin sets. Chunky gold jewelry and visor-like sunglasses added additional frost to his brand of polished glamour.
The collection did not scream Gen Z: One could picture the Countess Jacqueline de Ribes — now blonde and still going strong at 93, raising funds for the Musée d’Orsay — in the long white coat and long black dress combo.
But those stretchy tubes and draped jersey dresses will surely accompany the young and the lithe to many fancy dance floors come spring.