It could have been a soggy, dismal end to the first day of Paris Fashion Week. Anthony Vaccarello unveiled his second ready-to-wear collection at Saint Laurent, outside in the courtyard of the French fashion house's recently restored HQ in central Paris, as the rain poured down. Despite the unfortunate weather (and we mean really unfortunate – it began to hail as the models battled on – but thankfully, there were YSL blankets for the audience), the Belgian-Italian designer kicked off Paris with a bang, opening with lashings of leather which distracted from the lashing rain. Menswear came out alongside womenswear, in a co-ed show that followed the lead of Gucci, also owned by the Kering group, which combined its men’s and women’s collections on the catwalk for the first time, last week during MFW.
Anthony Vaccarello, who established his sexy, tailored aesthetic first at his eponymous brand and later at Versus, reaffirmed his love for body-con silhouettes, black, and ‘80s amped-up glamour with a collection that transitioned from basic denim, shearling jackets, fine wool polo necks, slouchy boots and off-the-shoulder blouses to cocktail dresses with striking silhouettes, gowns in butterscotch leather, PVC skirts and glittering power suits with exaggerated shoulders.
The predominantly black collection was studded with flashes of red via rose choker corsages and scarlet stilettos, tan leather and hyper-shine navy blue. This was a stark departure from Hedi Slimane’s grunge glamour vision for Saint Laurent, with lots of exposed skin, sexy silhouettes, bold ruffles and plunging necklines. Not only was the clothing vastly different from Slimane’s aesthetic but the casting reasserted this new era for the brand. Yves Saint Laurent, who founded the fashion house in 1961, was one of the first designers to use black models on the catwalks and Vaccarello’s cast was considerably more diverse than Slimane’s Saint Laurent women, with Mica Argañaraz, Mileshka Cortes, Hiandra Martinez, Binx Walton, Elibeidy Martinez and Elizabeth Ayodele all walking.
Travis Scott was joined by Kate Moss, Catherine Deneuve, Lou Doillon and Zoë Kravitz in the star-studded frow.
As divisive as Slimane’s designs may have been (critics argued that he was tarnishing the house with his rock and roll sensibilities), his financial success at Saint Laurent is indisputable, as profits rocketed during his tenure. With such a weight on his shoulders, it’s easy to see why Vaccarello played it safe at times, with incredibly wearable pieces such as everyday denim, simple knitwear and golden tan shearling jackets. Where he truly excelled was the fiercely feminine, high-octane glamour (a confident continuation from his debut), which celebrated the female form in all its glory.