Last season, there were at least pasties to cover the nipples. This time, Anthony Vaccarello left the areolae fully exposed, as if there were any woman who would not get themselves on the wrong side of the law by going bare mamilla. It’s not certain if anyone looking at the looks Mr Vaccarello proposed as sexy, or tasteless, but he was on track to cover one of two major trends in fashion: extreme sexiness and over-the-top decorative. Are there really so many women who want to look provocative? Or wanton? Or aggressive?
There’s something menacing about Mr Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent. Maybe it’s all that leather (as in the last season). Or maybe it’s the colour or the lack of. Or maybe it’s just these angry times when a certain toughness in dress is too literal a front to tackle social aggression. Sure, we could be reading too much into it. These clothes have no place in the part of the wardrobe a woman goes to when she needs something for work, to take the children to school or meet the mother-in-law for tea in. These are outfits, if the shine of the leathers is any indication, for a certain setting where strobe lights and proximity to a bar lend the wearer an enhanced cool.
And that could mean a top with just one sleeve. Mr Vaccarello seems to love the single sleeve, and now, a detachable one too that can be worn on the other otherwise exposed arm. But the two are not quite the same, as if unalike due to some genetic aberration. The removable one works like a hybrid sleeve-glove, where the upper portion opens up like a carnivorous fluted flower, exposing a shearling underside, the deltoid consumed. It’s not certain if these one-sleeves will be sold separately, as they do with handbags, but they sure will send very active IG users into a state of delirium.
Unconsciously, we drifted to Louis Vuitton. For spring/summer 2017, Nicolas Ghesquière, too, had some leather pieces, one-sleeve jackets, and a few very sheer dresses. Only thing visibly missing: totally exposed breasts. We know that cover has become totally unimportant in fashion, but is Mr Vaccarello’s insistence on the breast in full exhibition mode fashion design or cheap trick? Surely the Kardashian clan constitutes a very small clientele?
And there are those angular extensions, which could be his answer to his predecessor’s pussy bows. Mr Vaccarello is creating his own signature, of course, using ruffles in more superfluous ways than possible. Whether extending past the person next to the wearer, or swirling from bodice to skirt like a candy wrapper, his ruffles have the uncanny ability to be both ornamentation, and unneeded—totally selfie-friendly.
Perpetual fans would be able to point out the YSL references, however subtle, which is, of course, not the point since it is doubtful that anyone who has gravitated to the brand since Hedi Slimane’s tenure would notice, or care. We are not expecting any reiteration of the four-button double-breasted blazer that’s nipped in the waist; not the relaxed, belted safari suit; the ruffled peasant dresses. But must Anthony Vaccarello erase everything that we remember Yves Saint Laurent for? Apparently so.