If there has been one standout trend seen across the runways in recent seasons, surely it has been the bourgeoisie dress codes of the equestrian set turned into an endless array of tweeds and tailoring. But Anthony Vaccarello is not necessarily renowned for his propriety – and so, this season, he took those tropes and transformed them through the abundant addition of latex. “I wanted to find the balance between control and abandonment, the tension between discipline and pleasure,” said Vaccarello after presenting a collection that married Princess Diana’s ’90s wardrobe with high-octane sexuality. Here, everything you need to know about the Saint Laurent FW20 show.
Saint Laurent presented the means for the world’s best mirror selfie
It’s nothing new to turn up to a Saint Laurent show beneath the Eiffel Tower – but, while the industry has been heading there for a few years now, the appeal is yet to wane. During September it’s particularly good because we can watch it start to sparkle as the clock turns eight – but in the cooler months, we only get to glance at it briefly before we enter a giant black box erected as a show space. This time, the box was covered in mirrors – which meant that, if you didn’t mind getting a little damp, you could stand in front of it and take a selfie with the giant Eiffel Tower looming in the immediate background. You could hardly get into the show for the frenzy that opportunity caused. Already, Instagram appears flooded. A smart move, then.
It turned the tropes of the bourgeoisie on their head
This season, Vaccarello explained that he explicitly returned to the codes that defined this house in the 1990s: what he termed Saint Laurent’s “peculiar vision of bourgeoisie”. In accordance, there appeared silken neckerchiefs and pussy-bow blouses, those standout archival color combinations, broad-shouldered blazers aplenty – but with a difference. “I wanted to take that moment and twist it with something from now,” he explained backstage. So, alongside the archive revival tailoring – the candy-colored blazers, or the Working Girl overcoats – appeared an unexpected new category for the brand. After all, he continued, “[I wanted] to break the codes that are too conventional. Saint Laurent is about danger.”
Enter Allen Jones for the modern day
So: we had Princess Di elegance – but then it was paired with latex, and lots of it. “For Saint Laurent, elegance is mandatory but it also goes with perversity,” said Vaccarello – remember, if anyone knew how to transform perversion into aspirational chic, it was the founder of this house. Allen Jonesian leggings, pencil skirts, dresses… you name it, it came in latex, in every color, and appeared worn with everything. “My woman has the power of doing what she wants to do; she’s not in submission, she’s taking control, she’s powerful,” said Vaccarello. In 2020, that sentiment rings out with particular relevance – but it all comes down to the woman wearing the latex.
We saw some standout accessories
What do you wear with that amount of latex? High-shine patent, sharp-toed pumps with shining ribbons knotted around your ankles. What to wear under your blazer? Well, besides a lacy bra, a wealth of chunky gold necklaces. In a collection that skimped on traditional clothing, and starred not a single, solitary handbag, Vaccarello was nonetheless offering lots of lovely things to slip into wardrobes around the world. Look, not everyone feels they can get away with glossy, skin-tight leggings. But most of us could find room for a pair of those ’80s-era earrings, or those nostalgic black leather belts. They’re certainly an easier sell.
Vaccarello is making a play for the culottes market
For those seeking alternate legwear to the leggings: in line with the resurgence of the aforementioned horsey aesthetic (and having not been seen since Princess Di’s days in velvet), lately culottes have made a comeback. Vaccarello was clearly making a play for the wealth of women torn between choosing trousers and shorts with some fabulously alluring low-slung white and high-waisted black leather numbers. If you weren’t sold already, you might be now. Those paired with a silky shirt and power-dressing jacket would likely give you the same sense of control that Vaccarello was more explicitly seeking in the latex. Something for everyone, then.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk