At Saint Laurent, the Shorts Were Short and the Dresses Were Shorter

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It might be freezing cold in Paris at the moment, but at Saint Laurent you wouldn’t know it. For a Fall/Winter 2018 collection, it sure showed a lot of leg. However, beyond a quick dash from limo to limelight, one gets the sense that Saint Laurent girls never even bother opening their Weather app.

But who are these “Saint Laurent girls” anyway? What makes the brand so successful is the image it peddles of the glamorous, 24-hour, party-people lifestyle, but it’s the accessories, the leather goods, and the shoes that make up the majority of sales. People are buying a slice of the Saint Laurent vision, but not the whole look. In fact, ready-to-wear only makes up 19 percent of total sales, according to the brand’s parent company Kering, but you need it to sell the other stuff. In other words, you need the over-the-top, head-to-toe, rock ‘n’ roll image to keep the cash register ringing.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent girl isn’t much different to Hedi Slimane’s, and both designers experienced tremendous commercial success. Why fix what’s not broken? Instead, Vaccarello delivers more of the same for Fall/Winter 2018. The shorts were short, the dresses were shorter, and it all culminated in a crystal-disco spectacle in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Yet, after last season’s immense couture volumes, it felt a little underwhelming.

Although repetitive at times, you can’t fault the brand for sticking with what it does best.

The first half of the show was devoted to sharp shoulders and thigh-high hemlines – all of it in inky black shades. There were velvet mini dresses, wool capes, leather hot pants, slinky micro-studded jackets, spiky leather mini dresses with over-wide shoulders, and skinny cropped trousers (some of them fully sequined) to choose from. It’s everything you’d expect from Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent. Mysterious, face-shrouding fedoras, long mink earrings, diamanté jewelry, and thick platform boots helped round out the glam-girl offerings. Plus, there were some terrific, figure-skimming, floor-length dresses with sculptural necklines.

For the last half of the show, Vaccarello dipped into the archives and produced a reprisal of some of Yves Saint Laurent’s designs in the 1980s, namely his floral-printed dresses with nipped or ruched waists and padded shoulders. Vaccarello did his versions in dense beading, but there was little variation between looks, even though there were 30 of them. Although repetitive at times, you can’t fault the brand for sticking with what it does best.

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