Since COVID turned everything upside down, Anthony Vaccarello chose to present his Saint Laurent collections through film, using spectacular natural settings, from sand dunes to glaciers, as a backdrop. Not so tonight. We’re back in Paris, baby! Vaccarello’s powerful and uncompromising spring collection was once again shown at a glittering distance from the Eiffel Tower. (A roar came from the crowd as he lit up.) Still, he hasn’t completely given up on relying on the elements. On the one hand, the show took place outside, on a dark and cool evening, and on the other hand, there was the impossible to miss the thunderous waterfall that was pouring down the pyrotechnic light during the final.
It wasn’t the only force of nature Vaccarello had in mind. At the center of this collection was the incomparable Paloma Picasso, a Renaissance woman who, in her heyday, was as happy in a hip nightclub as she was in an artist’s studio. Or, for that matter, the workshop of a creator: years ago, Pierre Bergé recognized the central role of Picasso in the exit of Monsieur Saint Laurent from the lethargic and dying world of haute couture, electrifying to take new risks. This role was somewhat lost in history until tonight when Vaccarello celebrated his legacy in a bold and fabulous style. He brought the sketch of her signature look – black hair, scarlet lips, masc / woman contrast, clash of opulent and stocking – firmly in today. “She projected a glamorous tenacity,” Vaccarello said during a preview days before the show. “And it was a way for her to move around the world and to get by.”
Much of this collection has been torn from men’s couture, Picasso rhythm. Vaccarello’s jackets, with their broad shoulders that took months to perfect, were divine, and made even more so by the proportional juxtaposition of their three-quarter sleeves; the precision of form, said Vaccarello, was “fixing all those oversized jackets that I’m tired of seeing on Instagram; just to show what a well-cut jacket is. Sometimes this suit was worn with high waisted jeans or skinny pants cut from spandex, other times it morphed into a jumpsuit, but it was always accessorized with shiny Pop Art leather gloves, the value of a sunken galleon. jewelry and the newly reborn Tribute platform in black patent leather. (BTW: Jeans and jewelry look great again; ditto for these platforms.)