Saint Laurent FW24: upgrading the legacy

There can be no doubt that the main achievement of Anthony Vaccarello has been  his ability to perceive and adapt the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent, and the convincing integration of the main silhouettes of YSL into the modern SL. It didn't happen immediately and took him several years, but now, with every new season, his takeover looks more and more convincing both in terms of volumes and silhouettes, and in terms of materials and textures.

First, let's talk about the volumes. When a few years ago, Vaccarello first showed straight jackets with emphatically wide and stiff shoulders, derived from the ones Yves Saint Laurent made in the early 1980s, it was his first direct intervention in Yves’s legacy — and a very impressive one at that. Since then, big shoulders have become so common that we see them literally in every single collection. At some point, Vaccarello began to downsize the volumes, which was the right move, and in SL FW24 there were only a few such jackets with large shoulders. That said, there was a lot of fur — as in general this season — and it was voluminous. Almost every model had big fluffy fur coats — in their hands or on their shoulders, but more often in their hands — and they came from the famous haute couture PE1971 collection with its iconic short green fur coat, which took a serious beating from the critics back then.

Now, the textures. If this collection had a theme, it was transparency, which very successfully coincided with the newly opened exhibition Yves Saint Laurent: Transparences, Le pouvoir des matieres. The main thing here were the transparent narrow skirts, which Vaccarello in general made his main feature, and there were also transparent bustiers and, of course, classic YSL transparent blouses with bows. But all this transparency, perhaps because of the abundance of Vaccarello’s currently favourite beige and sand, which became the main colors of the collection, looked a little like latex BDSM, and a little like Kubrick’s sci-fi. This, of course, is the type of sexuality that Yves Saint Laurent never had, with all his desire for a slightly flawed, but quite bourgeois seductiveness that was especially highlighted in Helmut Newton’s famous photographs of YSL women of the 1970s. But this is the adjustment through which Vaccarello makes SL relevant today.

To this same aesthetic niche of the 1970s you can add the structured pea jackets made of shiny leather, worn simply with bare legs. And the headscarves tied around the models' heads, and the huge earclips under them — just like Loulou de La Falaise in the 1970s, caught on photos with Yves in some nightclub, when both of them, two stars of bohemian Paris, were at their prime.

In fact, this image of the classic French beauty and French chic of Les Trente glorieuses is what Vaccarello is channeling now. And the main minstrel of the classic Parisian beauty — be it his friends Catherine Deneuve, Loulou de La Falaise, Betty Catroux, you name it — was Yves Saint Laurent himself, who celebrated such divas, femmes fatale, and other embodiments of classic Parisian femininity. Today, Anthony Vaccarello has successfully made this image his own, bringing it back to life in this upgraded and quite modern version, reviving Yves Saint Laurent in his most iconic  and best-adopted by popular culture images. Well, this is, as the French would say, une très belle collection, très féminine, for which he can be sincerely congratulated — he managed YSL’s transition from the past to the present well.

Text: Elena Stafyeva