If it weren’t for the illumination of a scrillion smartphones, the Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2020 show would have started in pitch blackness. Black, the eternally chic color preferred by the fashion crowd – particularly the fashion crowd at a Saint Laurent show – set expectations for more of the same. But Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello had something else in store.
Pardon the boldness of the next statement, but for all intents and purposes, the ‘S’ in YSL stood for sex at Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 2020 presentation. On the opposite end of the spectrum from most designers who are tackling women’s issues today, Vaccarello was wondering what it would look like if women were in control and how they would dress if given total autonomy. His vision is not a modest one. Instead, it is a celebration of female sexuality. If women have the right to choose, then they need choices. This is one of them.
With latex as the unifying factor, it was rather one-note, but the note was so good that it urged the show forward.
Fetishistic latex leggings in shades of cherry, eggplant, fuchsia, emerald, and midnight blue transformed the models into dominatrixes on their way to work. Latex is the single most unforgiving textile on the face of the planet, but somehow, Vaccarello made it look not only cool, but also downright bougie. Just when you think it’s going to be a predictable Saint Laurent show, he changed course. The color palette was explosive and vibrant in all the right ways.
Latex leggings were paired with big boxy blazers, recalling the androgynous influence of the house’s main muse, Betty Catroux. Incidentally, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris is staging an exhibition in her honor, starting March 3, and she was seated in the front row to witness Vaccarello’s homage on the runway. Leather culottes, plaid outerwear, pussybow blouses, and fur shrugs were also in the mix, amplifying the bougie effect. With latex as the unifying factor of the collection, it was rather one-note, but the note was so good that it urged the show forward. That, my friends, is a feat worth mentioning.