Saint Laurent’s non-rebellious rockers

It was refreshing to attend the latest Saint Laurent show in a season dominated by the Me Too movement, and witness a collection which flaunted so much flesh and, indeed, the right of women to look sexually charged.


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Saint Laurent - Fall-Winter2018 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

Protective fashion might be all the rage in New York, but here in Paris, even after just 24 hours of shows, designers are clearly determined to remind people that women should not be afraid to look hot and sexy, nor be ashamed of that. The objectification of the female sex is wrong, but in Paris making women very sexy sure isn’t.
 
Admittedly, one did have a hard time seeing a lot of the clothes in this Saint Laurent show. Though seeing as many of them would be worn in nightclubs and well after midnight that probably made a lot of sense. However, even in the smoky light on an immense black boardwalk runway looking across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, the collection was definitely steamy.
 
The first half dozen looks were leather micro minis or hot pants paired with tiny blazers and boleros, all anchored by hefty platforms, and showing huge quantities of leg. And that was the daywear. For evening, creative director Anthony Vaccarello really came into his own. He has an innate ability to drape suggestively – creating off-shoulder cocktails or power-shoulder dance floor heroines, cut with a certain magic and often sprouting black feathers. 
 
In a co-ed show, the Saint Laurent men – in drainpipe pants, skinny suits, chunky shearlings and Vietnam vet baseball jackets – looked like they were related to the female models.
 
Before a memorable finale of some 20 floral embroidered dresses of crepe de chine, cut with acres of thigh and devil-may-care attitude. They were sexy, sculptural, suggestive, sassy, and a million miles from demure and protective fashion. 
 
“It’s an explosion of joie de vivre but also a little sad. It’s not punk; nothing linked in anyway to rebellion. No, it’s more the spirit of the girls who work around me,” said Vaccarello, whose show – like a well-oiled rock tour – started exactly on time at 8PM. A threatening note inside the metal studded wallet of an invitation read: "The show will begin precisely at 8PM. Access will be granted from 7PM. Doors will close at 7.45 PM."
 
In a sense, Vaccarello essentially added a large dose of tough chic to Monsieur Saint Laurent’s Gypsy collection. Though with telling assurance.
 
“My work is always a reaction against the last collection. There were two prints, like a jump suit floral that I did last season and I wanted to continue that. So that’s why the finale was so rich and embroidered. I also wanted more tailored and also more street, though with lots of feathers. I would not say rock, but very actual. I have always loved the little floral dresses of Monsieur Saint Laurent, since he always managed to create quite simple dresses that were also very sculptural and quite extreme and I wanted that,” said the quietly spoken Italo-Belgian designer.
 
Though there is clearly gold in nightlife, as the house long ago broke through the magical billion-euro barrier and continues to boom. Leaving the immense custom-built tent covered in twinkling lights, with hundreds of fans rather pathetically still begging to enter, we encountered the house’s CEO Francesca Bellettini.
 
“Happy? I couldn’t be happier. We did 1.5 billion euros in business last year and grew by 25%. What’s not to like about that?” beamed the CEO.

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