Anthony Vaccarello made his '80s-inspired debut back at Saint Laurent Paris in September, 2016, and it was a collection filled with plunging necklines and nipple-bearing mini-dresses, all set against a giant neon YSL sign. For his sophomore collection unveiled at Paris Fashion Week last night, Vaccarello continued to turn up the sex appeal at Saint Laurent.

For FW17, Vaccarello harked back to Yves Saint Laurent’s glory days, and for the first time at the house's womenswear show, the designer introduced a couple of men’s looks, too. Given the industry’s trending lean towards mixed collections, it would be silly for one of the most lucrative fashion houses on the luxury circuit to buck the trend.

Vaccarello’s latest collection celebrated the ubiquitous party girl, with plenty of luxe remixes of day-to-night clothes that women want to wear. “I always relate YSL to parties, to evening,” Vaccarello told Vogue backstage. “I couldn’t do a show without those golden years, but I wanted to take that further.”

The Invite

During Hedi Slimane’s tenure at Saint Laurent, he elevated the humble fashion show invite into the canon of collectable art. Each season, he would produce 100-page booklets as invites. Each book was perfect-bound between a black notebook cover and designed by a different LA-based artist.

Now, in a new era helmed by Anthony Vaccarello, the Italian-Belgian designer has basically overlooked the invite as a strong element of Saint Laurent’s hype machinery and reverted back to the traditional envelope and beautifully crafted card. Sumptuous though it may be, it’s missing the zeitgeisty connection to contemporary culture that Slimane so meticulously manicured.

The Venue

Vaccarello once again chose to show in the new and still-under-construction Yves Saint Laurent HQ on Rue de Bellechasse. However, he turned away from the grandeur of last season and used an enormous raw amphitheater with tiered stadium seating as his setting. With the club soundtrack set to concert-grade audio and blasted at ear-wrenching levels, it was a fittingly pulsing and vibey backdrop to a collection of rotating party looks.

The Collection Highlights

Pretty much like everyone else, Vaccarello is riding the ’80s-excess wave and those statement shoulder pads from last season made a shiny return. Though it’s a sharp pivot from Slimane’s rock chicks and vintage inspirations, Vaccarello got a little darker this season with ultra-feminine and ultra-powerful looks.

The opening look (pictured above) did a great job at setting the tone. A boxy, bold vinyl jacket offering a glimpse at a silk-charmeuse slip dress with a sculpted yet slightly frayed edge. An onslaught of dark romanticism followed, hijacked by some super wearable (yet totally decadent) looks like a staple denim jacket rendered in sheared mink. There were definite standouts, though, such as the scrunched leather boots which accompanied a slew of looks.

The men’s looks were pretty drab in comparison to the womenswear offerings at large, but Vaccarello at least applied consistency by sending out concert-ready wares like skintight vinyl trousers and aviator jackets.

When the show ended with a conventional final lap of looks, the models were not dressed in what they’d just worn but in varying iterations of sculpted, shimmery after-dark looks. Vaccarello’s girl went from working the daily grind to a polished evening soiree to an illegal after-hours, all without breaking a sweat.

The Guest List

The front row included Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kate Moss, Travis Scott, Zoë Kravitz and Amber Valletta.

What The Critics Say

Most of the reviews shied away from any kind of divisive opinion and simply noted Vaccarello’s dedication to mining the Yves Saint Laurent archive with contemporary conviction. However, Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks bluntly expanded on a popular opinion and wrote: “Anthony Vaccarello’s pistols were loaded, but he was firing blanks in comparison to the shots that Yves Saint Laurent took in his glory days.” Savage.

Our Verdict

Vaccarello’s attempt to intensify his brand of sexiness with another update of YSL’s classic “mono-boob” dress (Yves first showed a toga dress that exposed a breast in 1990) fails to pack a punch for FW17. Where Yves Saint Laurent’s vision was provocative for his day, a nipple slip is hardly shocking in 2017. That being said, despite the saturation of ‘80s-inspired excess on the runways, Vaccarello has still managed to set himself apart and, after showing a whopping 106 looks shown for FW17, he managed to apply a unique level of distinction to each and every one.

Now read an interview with Supreme’s OG store manager on what the NYC shop was like back in the day.

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