Stepping into Hedi Slimane’s sizeable shoes at Saint Laurent was always going to be a daunting task. The house’s former creative director may have divided critical opinion over his grunge-led rock-inspired style, but no one can dispute his significant commercial success. It was therefore perhaps unsurprising that Anthony Vaccarello’s first outing for Saint Laurent last season was rather safe, prompting somewhat harsh reviews from fashion’s fiercest critics.
However, last night in Paris the Belgian-born designer was clearly in a more confident mood, delivering a clearer vision for the venerable house that more closely reflected his own design sensibilities.
Parading a collection of predominantly black looks, Vaccarello’s fondest for 80s glamour and overtly sexy, body-con silhouettes stood out.
Tough leather dresses stormed the runway, styled with ruched knee-length boots. Sleek versions sported daring plunging necklines, while others featured exaggerated sleeves, inspired by a favourite YSL piece, or bold ruffled shoulders.
Slimane’s signature distressed denim jackets were replaced by luxe cover-ups in shearling or mink, creating an air of elevated glamour. And this ran through the entire collection which, save for a handful of looks, was firmly focused on after-dark dressing.
An army of black cocktail dresses was clearly stamped with the designer’s daring aesthetic. Delicate lace, plush velvet and exposed skin were used to counter the striking silhouettes, while shimmering silver crystals provided that essential 80s sparkle.
Anthony Vaccarello clearly cast aside his predecessor’s vision for Saint Laurent this season, with a collection delivered with conviction and a renewed confidence.