GLITZ and glamour are two qualities that you can always expect from Paris Fashion Week. A city drenched in the history of historic couturiers and now run by the contemporary masterminds behind our daily looks, for Saint Laurent’s autumn-winter 2023 collection, Anthony Vaccarello took a moment to transport us back to the heydays of those before us.
Transforming the ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel, the venue that saw the French Maison showcase their couture collections from 1975 to 2001, the designer put the original oversized chandeliers back on the ceiling and create an undulating runway to host the show.
Though the Eiffel Tower in the background may be missed, the collection needed to be housed in confined conditions to truly convey the meaning behind each look.
Rather than figuring out who the Saint Laurent woman is for next season, Vaccarello decided to pay homage to the very essence of the brand – its unmistakably striking style. Mixing a potent concoction of meticulous precision, emotion and reticence with the familiar aesthetic of Saint Laurent’s powerful nuances, AW23 was a spectacular showcase of what YSL truly means.
Sharp shoulder lines in blazer are the first sign of the affluent nature of the House. Combining rich fabrics underneath the blazers, layers of flowing fabric that finish in signature bow blouses or extending over the body like shawls, hues of masculinity and femininity play between each other.
The dissolution of gender exclusivity returns producing garments like suits, thick leather bomber jackets and sharply cut tank tops that are contrasted with patterns like pinstripes, tartan and glen plaids, returning to the timelessness of the Saint Laurent story.
Giving the woman choice this season, opaques are clashed with transparent moments in chiffon, crepe-de-chine and mousseline, hiding and concealing as she desires.
While confident blazers may have seeped through a lot of AW23, another key silhouette was created through the return of conservative pencil skirts. Refining the body’s curves and pushing them to the forefront of our eye, a new Saint Laurent uniform has been created ushering in an era influenced by the past but translated into our futures, offering the message that strict clothing guidelines may be more freeing than previously suggested.
Understanding the codes of a brand whose roots begin at the very foundations of modern fashion can be difficult for some, but Vaccarello’s inherent ability to grasp the past and reformulate successful designs into today’s scope is hard not to praise time and time again.
And though he may have stayed away from wanting to create a collection for a specific mood, AW23 is not for the weak. It is a love letter to women who wish to defy the perpetual tsunami of trends and wish to stay forever chic.
by Imogen Clark