#SuzyPFW Saint Laurent: Sparkling Brighter Than The Eiffel Tower
On the stroke of eight in Paris, the sparkling, twinkling column of the Eiffel Tower lit up. And to celebrate that once-an-hour moment, out came legs, and more legs, bare from thigh-length army shorts right down to spindly sandals wafting with feathers – the leitmotif of the Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2018 show.
“She is a dark angel with a sensual allure and drapes herself in black sequinned dresses,” said designer Anthony Vaccarello, who might have been talking about black-lace-clad Courtney Love and her daughter Frances Bean Cobain. They were in the audience, which spread over a vast platform built by YSL at the Trocadéro.
This is an emotional moment for the house of Yves Saint Laurent, with the recent death of Pierre Bergé, co-founder and, in his own words, “l’amour fou” – crazy in love – with Yves, who died in 2008.
Bergé’s final statement to seal the designer’s legacy will be two museums dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent: one in Paris opening this week, and another in Marrakesh due to open next month.
There is a certain irony in the fact that Yves Saint Laurent’s greatest triumph – putting women in men’s trousers and tuxedos as a symbol of freedom and equality – should have been totally ignored in this Eiffel Tower show. Except, that is, for the male models, who were dressed relatively soberly, with a painterly striped bomber jacket and another smothered in glittering butterfly decoration as the exceptions.
In contrast, Les Girls were, in Vaccarello’s description, draping themselves in sequinned dresses, “shining like the asphalt after the rain”.
And what about the feathers? They were everywhere, but especially wafting from toe to thigh on high boots. Apart from the bared thighs, the plumes filled the space between the fluff and the loose blouses that were a favoured covering for the upper half.
Vaccarello played with almost every code of the house, but his way. The signature YSL wide shoulders morphed into huge lapels; while peasant blouses were puffed up to look like breasts covered in whipped cream. Yet those sheerly-clad bosoms, which sent shock waves in 1968, seemed tame today, with lacy tops showing only a glimpse of breast. More seductive was the famous “Le Smoking”, or tuxedo suit, with tailored jacket, lace trousers, and a narrow bra top held together with a butterfly.
Some aspects of the vision – especially the almost-ridiculous overblown oversizing – seemed to have been inspired by the final show of Hedi Slimane, the previous incumbent in the role of design director.
If you accept that Vaccarello is interested only in evening outfits and just offers a cursory go-to-work look (buy it from the men’s department perhaps?), this was a striking show.
The sheer power of the Paris mega-brands – and Saint Laurent is now owned by the luxury goods group, Kering – is overwhelming. Could anyone else time a collection in phase with the lighting of the Eiffel Tower? And then have it twinkle away again for the finale? Thousands of blinking lights as a background to all that fluff.