There is one thing that Anthony Vaccarello does almost better than almost anyone in the business. Beyond cohesive ideas and expert tailoring and dramatic shows, he has a knack for creating a vision that you want to be part of. It feels simple, really, but to possess the ability to create a fantasy of a woman that people really want to be feels like a rarity these days. For Saint Laurent's Fall Winter 23 show, this felt like more of a moment than ever.
It boiled down to elegance at the end of the day. A pure, concentrated, almost painful display of true elegance. It was almost decadent in its delivery: a plush yellow gold carpet on a raised runway lit by chandeliers set the scene for tight, focussed tailoring. Skirt suits aplenty – just as Yves would have liked it – emerged with big, big, big, shoulders, exaggerated on every jacket from pinstripe to smoking to tweed and velvet, all rendered in menswear materials (also as Yves would have done). Neat, slim skirts finished just above the knee elongated the leg; they were paired with these epic jackets and things like simple t shirts and plunging silk tank tops and flouncy blouses.
Vaccarello's current fixation with 80s silhouettes was ever-present, but this season it felt even more refined and exacting. For each moment that felt like it might tip over the retro edge, a current element would come screaming to the rescue. Mostly, this was down to the use of modern fabrics and Vaccarello's astute ability to cut in a contemporary way. He has been doing this for long enough to know that theatrics and tricky, trendy silhouettes only gets one so far, and as we've been witnessing more and more this month, focussing solely on the clothes is always going to feel like the most deliberate way to display craft.
It was a similar thought we had at the Saint Laurent Men's show back in January, the same pang of undiluted elegance that shows Vaccarello is really trying to say something here. What does true elegance mean in a climate that is caught up with a never-ending trend cycle? What kind of woman do you want to be?
A Saint Laurent one, please.
Watch the full Saint Laurent Fall Winter 23 show, below.