Playing to the iconic power of the Eiffel Tower as last season's backdrop, complete with open-air runway for the whole of Paris to behold, was a stroke of showmanship genius from Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent, meaning for Autumn/Winter 2018 he had set himself a tough act to follow. But follow he did, still opposite the Paris landmark, but for this season, taking the show indoors in a vast, built-for-purpose space, with a doorway that framed the base of the Tower and its glittering illuminations – a lightbox into which Vaccarello would project his vision of the season to come.
A collection that seemed to double-down on the leg, shorts were central to Vaccerello's thinking, with the designer stating that shorter silhouettes are the best way, in his opinion, to "describe modernity". Leather shorts were key, while thigh-skimming, all-black cocktail dresses in velvet, studded leather, patent, and even fur, showed off a range of footwear including silver-buckled ankle boots, chunky platforms, fur-cuffed suede knee-highs and feather-embellished stilettos. Fluid in its layering of blouses, shirts and immaculately cut, at times tassel-trimmed, jackets and crystal embroidered smoking jackets, despite the menswear element later in the show, these were pieces for both genders.
Fifty plus looks in, and it was clear the designer had made his case for top-to-toe black for the season ahead. Eloquence in texture and structure, therefore, were fundamental in avoiding monotony, and, for evening, Kaia Gerber, in an evolution of the previous season's high-impact bubble dresses, showcased a black mini dress with a super-statement and über-inventive exaggerated neckline. The line-up culminated in a clashing, heavy-metal florals story, a burst of bucolic brights taken from the Yves Saint Laurent archives and executed with the Vaccerello golden ratio of short hems, slashed necklines and sharp shoulders. A far-ranging, powerful collection that really had legs.
Shop: Saint Laurent