Saint Laurent AW23 – Paris Fashion Week
Jodi Bhachu-Smith reviews the new collection from Anthony Vaccarello at PFW
Set inside the ultra-modern black-box show space on Place de Varsovie, Anthony Vaccarello boldly declared the return of power dressing for the Saint Laurent AW23 womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week, with shoulders bigger and badder than ever before. This stark and tailored appeal was juxtaposed against five lavish bronze chandeliers lining the catwalk that transported us back to the opulence of the InterContinental Hotel ballroom, where Yves Saint Laurent himself first showed his collections.
Here, Vaccarello skilfully blended both the contemporary and classic codes to unveil the essence of a modern woman through sharp silhouettes and tailleur-jupes (or skirt-suits). Bold, structured suit jackets with imposing oversized shoulders paired with slender knee-length pencil skirts was one version for the day, while slim cashmere leggings or cascading leather waves told of another for the night. These designs all embodied strength and form, yet they thankfully managed to retain their fluidity and movement.
The synergy of wool fabrics with velvets and silks revealed the sensual elegance long synonymous with the famous French House. The designer played with textures, transparency and opaqueness to allow his muse to conceal and expose the body as and when desired. He then combined these outlines with traditionally masculine aesthetics like oversized leather bombers, pinstriping, glen checks and low-cut tank-tops to disregard traditional gendered biases.
The overall story took on a uniform, almost futurist quality by distilling the essence of the classic Saint Laurent woman into a new, fashionable decanter. Accordingly, the colour palette reflected a tight, simple yet striking spectrum of blacks, navies and neutrals to add a perfect tone to the atmosphere.
Killer stiletto slingbacks in patent leather, chic slimline belts, pocket squares and red carpet sunglasses completed every picture. And, they all exemplified the attention to detail that has forever been at the centre of Saint Laurent’s work, now with a very modern ‘Vaccarellian’ twist.
To read our review of the Dior show from PFW, click here
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