You can see a Saint Laurent look coming from blocks away. It’s inevitably sexy, strong shouldered, often sheer or traced with dazzling embellishment, and the hemline is always as short as it get. Meanwhile, the vibe is often a careful fusion of bohemia and rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Even after the brand has changed hands many times over the decades, at the core of the house, there is a template that remains the same. That’s because the man who started it all, Yves Saint Laurent, is an unforgettable siren of scandal, and his name still has the power to evoke a blush of feeling and a rush of heat.
Anthony Vaccarello has been fantastic at interpreting the house codes, while also translating the work of his predecessors. He loves to play in the archives, and this season saw its most substantial reference yet: Yves Saint Laurent’s personal muse, the perennially chic Betty Catroux. In 2018 and at 70 years of age, she starred in a Saint Laurent campaign, a signpost of what was to come for Fall/Winter 2019. There she was – metaphorically at least – striding the runway in power shoulder jackets and brief hemlines, as potent a sex symbol as ever.
It was a heck of a fine finish, one that insisted that this collection be worn to dance the night away.
While Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection was a continuation of themes we’ve seen plenty of times before on its runway, the silhouette also represented some of Vaccarello’s strongest tailoring to date. Big-shouldered coats were especially sublime, as were polished trousers and an array of tight pencil skirts trimmed in feathers. Mini dresses came outfitted with couture-like details: mega bows that jutted off the shoulder, turban-wrapped skirts, and a flourish of voluminous tulle protruding at the hip. This was all well and good and classically Saint Laurent, but it gave way to a finale so phenomenal it almost erased the memory of what came before.
Just as the audience thought the show had wrapped, the lights suddenly dimmed, and a series of fluorescent neon looks took the stage. Capturing the essence of the classic James Bond film A View to Kill and its seductive opening sequence, the black light that illuminated the clothes caused a mesmerizing interplay of negative space and glow-in-the-dark opacity. It was a heck of a fine finish, one that insisted that this collection be worn to dance the night away – glamour and lifestyle rolled into one.
Browse the gallery below for a look at this fantastic neon finale.