Saint Laurent’s Legacy Remembered for Spring/Summer 2018

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For Spring/Summer 2018, Saint Laurent took its audience on a voyage through time and space – one that started on terra firma beneath the incredible shadow of the Eiffel Tower and harkened all the way back to the crowded streets of Marrakech, where a young Yves and his longtime friend and business partner, Pierre Bergé, once discovered their intertwined destiny. And all of Paris showed up for it.

It was an extraordinary effort by designer Anthony Vaccarello, arguably the best collection he has produced for Saint Laurent during his short tenure. It felt right for the moment – dark, sensual, odd, defiant, and a little gaudy. Lately, fashion has seen a homogenizing influence by buyers or a stifling tendency to find a successful formula and then strictly adhere to it – à la Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. Vaccarello’s commitment to the absurd – as in the case of outsized zebra lapels, enormous puffballs of marabou feathers masquerading as dresses, and similarly appointed minis in studded red leather – resulted in a collection that was terrifically unconcerned with what everyone else is doing.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

While the teensy silhouettes are certainly for the youth brigade, Vaccarello has never pretended to be a democratic designer. Instead, he makes fête-worthy frocks for the thoroughbred socialites and genetically blessed models of this world – and for everyone else that can afford to buy a slice of the purported party lifestyle. Like his predecessor, Hedi Slimane, youth culture is an obsession, but where Slimane was often accused of being too simplistic in his designs – more of a curator than a designer really – Vaccarello is a Designer with a capital “D”. His clothes came tailored and embellished from tip-to-toe, giving women a real fashion look to sink their teeth into.

Vaccarello is a Designer with a capital “D”.

Whether it was loose silky blouses and walking shorts inspired by the brand’s safari period or a sequined tuxedo blazer paired with knee-high boots upholstered entirely with feathers, there were hints of Yves all through the show. The clothes and accessories, skillfully crafted without exception, exemplified why Vaccarello was and still is the right man to assume the mantle of the legendary house founder. Some of these looks, with the addition of a few inches of hemline, could have been plucked straight from the YSL archives – the tiny black dresses and feathered looks especially echoed everything Yves created for Zizi JeanMaire from 1972 until the late 1980s. Vaccarello has invigorated the Saint Laurent brand while treading a delicate high-wire of house codes, and he has done so with tremendous success.

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