Under a sky full of stars and the Eiffel Tower in full splendor, Anthony Vaccarello presented Saint Laurent’s Fall 22 collection, an ode that celebrates the history of the French maison.
The writer Natalie Lloyd once said “I like The Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace,” and I think this is a beautiful phrase that perfectly represents the Parisian woman. It’s the archetype of a strong, powerful, and confident woman, but at the same time one who is feminine, sensual and sexy. She is the woman who has defined Paris and French fashion for decades. It is this woman that we find at the heart of Saint Laurent. We saw her in all of the Fall looks from this brand.
It was January 1971 when fashion prodigy Yves Saint Laurent presented his Haute Couture collection for the spring season. Entitled “Liberation,” the collection was inspired by the 1940s and World War II, made up of jackets with straight and pronounced shoulders, draped mini dresses, and transparent blouses in light silk. The collection caused a stir, to the point of being called the “Scandal” collection. Years later, in his 1978 collection, “Broadway Suits,” he brought back these masculine shapes in which straight shoulders framed the woman’s silhouette. The clothing channeled male energy, but at the same time possess a feminine sensuality. It is this same spirit of boldness and daring that Anthony Vaccarello used in Saint Laurent’s Fall 22 collection. The designer has proven to be an avid fan of sifting through the Saint Laurent archives for inspiration, and this time he’s given us retro glamour.
Nobody does shows like Saint Laurent. This one was held inside a room full of mirrors. As the models walked around the pale nude carpet, the mirrors began to lower to reveal the iconic beauty of Paris–the Eiffel Tower in all its splendor on the horizon. It was a show of beautiful androgynous garments that looked delicate and strong, masculine and feminine, opposite concepts that coexist harmoniously in the clothes. This is the most authentic aesthetic of Yves Saint Laurent, the French designer who was characterized by his provocative and avant-garde designs, qualities that we could see in each of the looks in the collection.
Straight-shouldered leather trench coats over silk dresses, draped body-hugging chocolate jersey dresses, faux fur maxi coats in coppery brown–every one of the outfits we saw on the runway spoke to us of luxury. I loved the collection because of the spirit it possesses, one that speaks to us of an unapologetic femininity in which women can show their sexuality and strength without feeling self-conscious. Satin lingerie dresses in a black looked as if they were made from liquid, oversized coats with shoulder pads on skirts were full of crystal embroidery and rhinestones, and then there were coordinated black lace blouses and pants that gave us an air of sensuality to the collection.
It was a collection full of pure minimalism, from the very refined color palette – black, white, and brown, mostly – to the discreet but impressive accessories that complemented each of the looks. There were earrings and bracelets in gold, black, and silver with tribal influences, aviator sunglasses with geometric shapes that gave the looks a futuristic touch, and XL flower brooches in metallic tones–little nods to the heritage of the French maison.
Anthony Vaccarello gave us with a collection that celebrates the entire history of the fashion house founded by Yves Saint Laurent in 1961. It has been 61 years since the firm was launched and its essence remains the same. Yves’ designs from more than four decades are still as scandalous today as in the past. Vaccarello has managed to bring the essence of the firm into the modern age. Today, Saint Laurent is femininity, power, strength and sensuality. Saint Laurent continues to provoke and be a transgressive brand, and I’m a faithful fan.