Saint Laurent Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Saint Laurent Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Anthony Vaccarello chose to hold his debut show for Saint Laurent in the impressive surroundings of a palatial building site—a former monastery, later a military headquarters, which has been derelict in the heart of Paris and is now being restored as the Saint Laurent headquarters. The background worked for Vaccarello as a trope for his entry into the house. “It’s a work in progress,” he said at a preview—a modest, realistic statement from a guy not given to bombastic assertions.

The image of transition was writ very large in these circumstances. Vaccarello, is, of course, taking over the job recently vacated by Hedi Slimane—and the commercial success of the former creative director has to have a lot to do with scale of the investment Kering, Saint Laurent’s parent company, is sinking into this stunning renovation. Vaccarello’s new position is an opportunity for which he closed his own line, to concentrate on the responsibility of reimagining whom the Saint Laurent girl might be. “She’s certainly not bourgeois or classic,” said Vaccarello. “She has a huge respect for Saint Laurent, but not in the first degree. So I thought of her taking a vintage dress and cutting into it.”

In particular, that dress was a puffed-shouldered number from an Yves Saint Laurent collection of 1982, and a black leather version of it opened this show. A fair enough start, since the ’80s revival is taking hold in Paris, largely triggered by Slimane’s parting shot last season. Embracing the ’80s isn’t a stylistic stretch for Vaccarello, either; his own sexy looks have always stuck to that kind of glamor. He played on it with plunging bustier tops in leather or velvet, pelmet skirts and boyfriend jeans, a section devoted to draped gold lamé, iterations of skinny smoking suits, and variations on one-sleeved dresses.

As a fun spin on ’80s logomania, there was a pair of heels spelling out “YSL” and earrings to match. Surely there will be much more of that sort of thing in the vast showrooms—products that have always supported the runway show. It’s too soon to call a verdict on Vaccarello in his new role; the job in this massive brand is as much directing teams and generating myriad ideas for merchandise as it is designing. Time will tell what kind of leader he’s to be, and the proof will be in what really fills the shops.

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