Anthony Vaccarello’s much-anticipated debut at Yves Saint Laurent gets tentative thumbs-up from the critics. WGSN Global News Editor Nigel Taylor reports
One of Paris Fashion Week’s hottest tickets showed last night as Saint Laurent set out its stall for spring/summer 2017. So what did Anthony Vaccarello make of his new job? In much the same way as most newcomers to the label, he sent out a collection that was as much a tribute to the house’s founder as anything.
For 2017, Saint Laurent, or YSL as Anthony Vaccarello seems happier to call it, is referencing the label’s 1980s signatures, but adding in Vaccarello’s own favourite looks.
So it was sexy with a capital S with less of the rock ’n’ roll-meets-grunge edge that Hedi Slimane specialised in. That meant the catwalk was awash with black leather, skirts were short (with an equally big capital S) and silhouettes were skinny. There was more of an obvious ‘design’ element than the under Hedi Slimane with some interesting cuts.
We’re told that Vaccarello will be mining the YSL archive for plenty more reinterpretations in seasons to come, but for spring/summer 17 we got a slim version of Le Smoking with squared-off shoulders, some Yves-style eveningwear with leg-of-mutton sleeves interpreted in Vaccarello’s favourite black leather and mini lengths, some draped gold lamé, and some Yves-influenced sheers.
There was plenty of flesh on show, from the models’ seemingly endless legs to almost-bare breasts under those sheers, and one fully-revealed breast (apart from the jewelled nipple cover), courtesy of the asymmetric neckline of a short leather dress.
But was it a success? Some critics gave Vaccarello the benefit of the doubt. Tim Blanks called it “a promising start” and Sarah Mower at Vogue Runway said it’s “too soon to call”. But Vanessa Friedman at the FT said, “perhaps Mr Vaccarello, who has a signature way with leather and a quiet conviction, can get past the obvious, start mining the essence and move on.”
The biggest test will be in-store, of course. If the new legion of fans who came to the brand via Slimane continue to make it parent Kering’s biggest growth engine, then Vaccarello will be a success. If not, we’ll just have to wait and see…
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