Like the under-construction Left Bank venue that will eventually become the Yves Saint Laurent headquarters, Anthony Vaccarello's sophomore collection for Saint Laurent felt very much like a work in progress.
Presented on a rainy Tuesday night here in front of a star-studded crowd that included Catherine Deneuve, Kate Moss, Amber Valletta and Zoë Kravitz, the fall/winter 2017 collection — what felt like five of them actually — included a range of men's and women's pieces building on the designer's debut spring collection of shoulder-baring, nipple-freeing, '80s-era-disco-flavored dresses, heavy on the supple leather and most paired with slouchy leather boots, undeniably the show's most eye-catching footwear silhouette.
(If there were a prize for second place, it would go to the several pair of white sneakers with the words "Smoking Forever" scrawled across the foxing tape — a reference to the namesake designer's revolutionary decision to put a tuxedo jacket — what the French call "le smoking" or smoking jacket — on women.)
But with this collection, Vaccarello moved beyond lighted-floor luxury, adding in some outerwear pieces, including chunky leather jackets, metallic cable-knit sweaters that glittered like jewel encrusted chainmail and shearling-lined versions of the detachable armor-like sleeve sheaths he showed last season.
In addition to the heavy-handed use of leather in dresses, jackets and the aforementioned boots (some of which were so generously slouched that, if pulled taut, they might reach the models' elbows), it was the fabrication of choice for one of the show's standout flourishes — oversized floral blossoms accenting one-shoulder dresses, giant red rosettes blooming from chokers and smaller versions sprouting from sandal straps.
The leather floral embellishments added a touch of softness and romance to the collection and hinted at just where Vaccarello might take the look of the label, as he tends, prunes and nurtures it moving forward.
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