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Saint Laurent SS17
Saint Laurent SS17Photography Evan Schreiber

What went down at Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent debut

With 80s shapes and added sex appeal, the designer reveals a new vision for the house

The last six months have been something of a whirlwind for Saint Laurent. Hedi Slimane, the designer celebrated for bringing a musical subculture-inspired new aesthetic to the house, departed after three and a half years at the helm, following months of speculation. Anthony Vaccarello, formerly of Versus Versace and his own self-titled label, was promptly installed as his successor and Saint Laurent began this new chapter by swiftly (and slightly conversially) wiping its Instagram account of all traces of Slimane. Now, after releasing previews of the collection on social media, Vaccarello has staged his inaugural ready-to-wear show – here’s what went down.

FIRST HE DROPPED PREVIEWS OF THE COLLECTION

Yesterday, around 24 hours before the show, YSL and Vaccarello released some teaser footage previewing the new collection. Shot by Dutch photographic duo Inez and Vinoodh, the video clips features his longterm muse Anja Rubik moseying about on the banks of the Seine.

HOURS BEFORE THE SHOW, VACCARELLO BREAKS HIS SILENCE

This afternoon, mere hours before the big moment, Vaccarello opened up in an extensive interview with Vogue, giving everyone a hint of what to come. “I wanted to have fun,” he says. “I wanted to have a clin d’oeil – a wink – to Yves Saint Laurent, rather than... He did so many things, I don’t want to repeat the things he has done. It’s not about the garments, my idea of YSL lies in the attitude and how we handle things. There are fabrics like leather, vinyl, velvet, lace, but then they’re put on a girl of today.” He goes on to discuss Anja Rubik, meeting Pierre Bergé, and how it feels to be taking on Saint Laurent. 

Head here to read the full interview.

THE INVITE CAME IN A LEATHER ENVELOPE

When it comes to their show attendees, Saint Laurent famously employs a no-expense-spared policy (last season’s guests were presented with a chair engraved with their names, which they were later invited to keep). This season was no exception as the show’s invitations came in a black leather envelope, complete with a golden tag engraved with the house’s logo. Fancy.

THEY SUSPENDED A GIANT NEON YSL LOGO ABOVE THE VENUE

In case guests were in any doubt that they were in the location, Saint Laurent suspended an enormous neon YSL logo above the Rue de Bellechasse venue using a crane. It’s interesting to note that Vaccarrello seems to be using both the house’s original logo and the one Slimane controversially introduced in 2012. Located in Paris’ seventh arrondissement, the venue itself was formerly the base of the French Ministry of Defence; as of 2018, it is understood, it will be used as the Saint Laurent’s new HQ.

THE COLLECTION WAS VERY 80S

Then came the clothes. For his debut, it seems that Anthony Vaccarello was inspired by the 1980s: there were power shoulders, puffy sleeves, a lot of lamé and chunky, costume jewellery-esque earrings. A sexier Saint Laurent than that of Slimane’s, the collection demonstated the Belgian-Italian’s more sensual approach to design: the fit was tight, the skirts were short, and cleavages were low – there was even a nipple pasty. The proliferation of leather and sheer organza only added to this.

THE CASTING WAS SHAKEN UP

Gone are the days of Slimane’s gang of indie musician-slash-models – Vaccarello enlisted a batch of runway favourites including former Dazed cover star Binx Walton, Edie Campbell, Malaika Firth, Mica Arganaraz, and of course, Anja Rubik. A lone male model – David Friend – also hit the catwalk in a flowing shirt made from sheer organza. Notable by their absence, however, were the Instagram girls like Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid.

AND FINALLY, THESE SHOES HAPPENED...

Expect to see them on the feet of every street style star come SS17...