Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.
#SuzyPFW YSL: Youth, Sex And Leather
New Saint Laurent designer Anthony Vaccarello channels the night owls of the 1980s
2 Октября 2016
With YSL in neon lights attached to a crane on a chaotic building site, the message could not have been louder or clearer. Yves Saint Laurent was being re-built by its latest designer: Anthony Vaccarello.
And by the time the audience was installed under a tranquil stone archway and the first model appeared in a corseted leather dress with curvy wide shoulders and a thigh-high skirt, Vaccarello's message was as clear as the YSL in sparkly dangling earrings. Except that the logo had been re-branded as Youthful Sexy Leather.
Add audacity from the Belgian/Italian designer, who has put his own brand on hold while he takes over from Hedi Slimane, and the show got spring/summer 2017 off to a racy start.
But it was obvious that Vaccarello, 34, in his mind's eye, took as a starting point where Yves Saint Laurent himself had morphed from daring young designer breaking the codes of good taste into a feted establishment figure.
The new designer can certainly cut like a French butcher: precise but delicate. Whether it was a V-neck to the waist in liquid, gleaming leather or a 'onesie', the fit was perfect.
What was added to the YSL archive? Bad taste. Where Hedi Slimane's young girls from the outskirts of LA seemed like teen innocents, Vaccarello's version was a knowing, attention-seeking nighttime-embracing woman.
Will the silver glitter pastie that covered one nipple of a cut-away leather mini dress go on sale in YSL stores? Along with the orange cord dangly earrings from Yves's 'Opium' Chinese period?
Where the new designer scores over the last is in his assured contouring of the female body. The designer's riffs on Le Smoking, the French word for tuxedo, were knife edge cuts and an-all-in-one outfit.
So with approval from Pinault, Vaccarello intensified the sexiness. Just when you thought that this dance-the-night-away, leather-uniformed woman must come up for air, she appeared in what might pass as daywear - a velvet jacket that looked like it had an earlier life as a Moroccan rug.
Vaccarello was smart not to make his launch at YSL a tentative homage to a mythical fashion creator - even though some of the collection seemed like a homage to his previous job with Donatella Versace's Versus line. The question is: did the new designer get to the essence of Yves Saint Laurent - and will he be able to keep up with the dramatically successful sales of Hedi Slimane?
Vulgarity is currently something in what the French call "l'air du temps". Vaccarello's skill was not in keeping up with the Kardashians, but in presenting his collection with an exuberant, witty energy.
But surely he should follow a different aspect of the rich YSL archive next season.