This season, Anthony Vaccarello reinterprets Yves Saint Laurent’s already rethought womenswear via the prism of menswear, expanding the label’s vision through a luxurious realm of subversive darkness and exacted elegance.
Tall, slender and uncompromisingly stylish, by deciphering the label’s unspoken rules, the Artistic Director presented a personal collection representative of Yves Saint Laurent’s obsession with Marrakech, giving birth to a line that abolished traditional gender roles in fashion with every sweep of its floor-length hemlines.
Models’ rigid confidence in this season’s outerwear is reflected in the way their broad shoulders are framed. As one’s gaze is drawn downward, a trim waist becomes apparent, presenting a remarkable portrait of modern masculinity; it’s not quite Harry Styles-level gender bending, but it’s subversive all the same.
Vaccarello has been expanding on the severely attenuated forms he strode out at his women’s presentations recently, and he has now transferred these ideas into his menswear creations. He emphasised his desire for them to “nearly be one person”.
Men could dress as women and women as men – it makes no difference. I feel an increasing want to level the playing field between them. There’s no difference. Where what was for “her” was pioneeringly co-opted from “him” by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s and ’70s, now in the 2020s, Vaccarello has reversed the process, speaking about his generation’s idea of what drop-dead elegance means through a silk shirt pronounced with an enlarged asymmetrical bow.
Other illustrative interpretations of his concept featured slim black jackets, black leather and velvet, and elaborate bows or funnel necklines at the collarbones. Naturally, the house codes provide a plethora of presents to experiment with when it comes to menswear, such as patent block heels, male versions of the pussy bow, and a nod to the North African draped hood.
Smoking jackets, with their cut cool and draped cache-coeur, are another wardrobe mainstay, as are silk shirts with plunging cowl fronts that are wrapped around cummerbunds. Vaccarello has gone beyond what could be described as blurry, fluid or neutral, with this season’s main themes being mystery and anonymity. Saint Laurent’s show is a triumph for the senses, with sensual, controlled tones that pay homage to the label’s enduring preoccupation with rich colours.
(Images: Saint Laurent)