Catwoman meets Paloma Picasso at Saint Laurent
Having dropped out of the French capital's fashion week at the height of the pandemic in April 2020, Saint Laurent made its big comeback to the Parisian calendar on Tuesday evening. And the Kering-owned brand didn't hold back, reconnecting with the fashion week's pre-Covid opulence with a high-impact show hosted in exactly the same location that the label staged its last runway presentation almost two years ago: the Trocadéro esplanade, opposite the glittering Eiffel Tower.
An enormous metal structure peppered with spotlights had been erected in the center of the catwalk, around which the models paraded. The first look to appear was a long, curvaceous, white dress, slit up the back, the reflection of which seemed to vibrate along the damp ground. Perched on high platform sandals, with lips painted bright red, the model wore thick-framed black sunglasses and imposing gold jewelry. The tone for the show had been set: impeccable class, radical freedom – and a touch of theater.
This season's Saint Laurent woman had the gift of being able to show herself off with natural elegance and without worrying about convention. The jacket of one elegant black suit had three large golden buttons, while a long red dress with a plunging neckline was also slit up the front. This was a woman who did not shy away from slipping her purse into the top of her jeans, which she wore bare-chested with only a man's suit jacket. Above all, she had an innate knack for accessorizing and using colors tastefully, effectively elevating a look with a single detail and refining her fiery femme fatale attitude, all while maintaining a careful balance between restraint and extravagance.
Here there was a large red flower, applied to the straps of a skintight bodysuit, right in the middle of the model's chest; there, a yellow scarf with black spots, twirled around the neck of a model in a beautiful black coat. Elsewhere, an electric blue turban held one model's hair in place, while a pair of leather gloves in the same color brought a flashy edge to an otherwise dark-toned ensemble.
For Spring/Summer 2022, creative director Anthony Vaccarello took inspiration from Paloma Picasso, a great friend of Yves Saint Laurent, for whose collections she made accessories in the 1970s.
"For a long time now, I've wanted to represent this encounter between Paloma Picasso and Yves Saint Laurent, the importance of which is often underestimated in the couturier's creative development. As a designer, I was particularly sensitive to this moment, because, for me, it's the moment in which Saint Laurent stops making fashion and creates a style," explained the designer in his notes.
Vaccarello therefore cultivated a certain attitude, a conscious taste for eccentricity and originality, all while exploring new pathways through which to concoct a contemporary wardrobe adapted to the needs of the woman of today. Following in the footsteps of Prada, which updated knitted grandpa long-johns with a modern twist last January, this season, Saint Laurent's creative director offered up a Lycra catsuit as the key look of its wardrobe for next summer.
It was reimagined in every conceivable shade – in intense single-color looks and exaggerated floral prints – and in a wide range of shapes. Indeed, this Catwoman bodysuit was interpreted with all kinds of variations. The top part of the piece, in particular, was draped in some looks, split in others, and elsewhere it was scalloped, pinned or shaped into a bustier, leaving the model's shoulders bare.
Vaccarello also had the bright idea of pairing these catsuits with masculine, oversized jackets for a neat twist on traditional tailoring. A classic Prince of Wales jacket was matched with skintight leggings in the same pattern, while another look created the same leggings-and-suit silhouette in gray, tone on tone. A handful of more conventional cotton jumspuits rounded out the wardrobe.
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