Saint Laurent: New generation Betty Catroux

Anthony Vaccarello took us back to the esplanade on the opposite bank of the Seine to the Eiffel Tower again this season; and back into the past for his vision of Saint Laurent’s future.


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Saint Laurent - Fall-Winter 2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

Vaccarello scrambled up many of Monsieur Saint Laurent’s noted looks – from lady tuxedos to exotic ethnic embroidery to fur coats for boys – even as he exaggerated the proportions and elongated the silhouette until it was the longest in Paris. 
 
The Belgian-born couturier built another mammoth set – forking out several million euros for a giant box, one side of which was a towering reflective wall. Once the show soundtrack kicked off, this became a transparent section crammed with thin columns of light bulbs, computer programmed to give the impression of an illuminated forest.
 
Unlike in Milan, where almost every collection contained classy career and work clothes, Paris designers seem devoted to dressing girls looking solely for a good time. It would be hard to imagine any woman – or man – going into an office in any of these Saint Laurent pieces, except perhaps to sign a new recording contract.
 
Far better worn to attend a fashion show with VIPs, celebs and the odd actor. The front row this time included Lindsay Lohan, still under a shadow in Paris a decade after her debacle as "designer" at the house of Ungaro; Kate Moss, escorted in by George Cortina, the noted American stylist, and even a few true thespians. Like, well, Matt Dillon, looking very at ease in a Saint Laurent pea coat, and Salma Hayek, with her hubby and the owner of YSL, François-Henri Pinault.


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Saint Laurent - Fall-Winter 2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

Anyhow, with a hard remix of electronica source Zeta booming out of giant speakers, the first models appeared with micro cocktails worn over five-inch spike-heeled platforms and power-shouldered great coats; followed by a couple of ideally cut suits – one in white that was perfection. Anthony has always been a darn good tailor.
 
Many tops were sheer – something to which Yves was not adverse – jackets were cut long in alligator with epaulettes. However, quite why his current successor felt the need to dress nearly a dozen girls in medieval shorts done in sequins, was unfathomable. It just made skinny legs look emaciated.
 
One third of the way in, the designer really hit his stride with embroidered velour rock star jerkins and a few sensational cocktails cut with one-meter bows jutting out at right angles off the shoulder. Great editorial images.


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Saint Laurent - Fall-Winter 2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

Lustrous blond hair, black shades and hands in the their pockets; the whole cast acted and walked like, one imagines, Betty Catroux’s granddaughters. The finale, however, was a complete mess: over a score of models walking largely in darkness behind the reflective wall as the lights went into a wavy pattern. The whole thing looked liked a giant broken-down Nintendo game, the models lost electrical pulses. Quite frankly, the oddest executive decision we have seen since Caligula named his horse a consul.
 
Amid all the darkness, Vaccarello took a brief walkabout and bow, to the lowest level of applause we have heard at a Saint Laurent show in over three decades.

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