Anthony Vaccarello has an eye for the spectacular. Not only do his Saint Laurent Paris shows happen at dusk, outdoors with the Eiffel Tower, twinkling on the hour as a backdrop, but the clothes always make a strong statement. This season he looked to the influential YSL muse Paloma Picasso, the jewellery designer daughter of Pablo, whose love of sharp-shouldered masculine shapes, bold jewellery and bright colour blocks, had a huge influence on Yves Saint Laurent. Their friendship changed his aesthetic, with Picasso encouraging him to question the traditional boundaries of haute couture, and to interrogate the idea of good taste itself. Their meeting, in 1968, said the designer was “a moment to which I am sensitive as a designer, because for me it is the defining moment when Saint Laurent’s fashion creativity became a style.”
In turn, he reinterpreted Picasso’s striking look, which he described as, “a glamorous toughness,” for the 21st century. Tailoring was the key, and Vaccarello’s jackets really are a cut above. The designer worked for months on perfecting the silhouettes of the broad-shouldered, three-quarter sleeve jackets (worn with high-waisted jeans with narrow clutch bags tucked into the waistbands – a la Paloma) and tailored jumpsuits on the runway. These contrasted with second-skin catsuits, in many cut-away variations, paired with sky-high Tribute platforms – an iconic noughties shoe that looks right again now. Bright orange, hot pink, black – these classic Saint Laurent colour combos dominated as Vaccarello’s powerful, glamorous women strode on a wet concrete catwalk, their strong looks a symbol of their audacity.