For Fall 2020, Anthony Vaccarello once again resurrected the power of seduction at Saint Laurent, complete with smoldering femme fatale looks, chunky gold jewelry, and a searing jewel toned color palette. Though the 90’s vibes was thick, Vaccarello’s has a skill for honing in on everything that’s fresh, young and cool. The opening look, a red tartan double breasted blazer, atop a matching jabot neckline blouse and black second skin latex trousers set the tone for the remainder of the show.
The designer conjured up the bourgeoise elegance of the 90s, but with a bold, defiant spin that brought to mind 90s era icons like Winona Ryder and the whole cast of Heathers with their infamous over the top blazers. Not to mention the sultry understated beauty of Josie Packard from Twin Peaks with her unforgettable sexy red lips, windswept cropped hair, and penchant for big power shoulders. Those of us old enough to remember these icons welcome an excuse to revisit this era in a cool, modern way, but even millennials are enthusiastically adopting the style. The references are cool, but if you don’t get them it hardly matters. The collection speaks for itself, but it’s substance lies in the tailored blazers which came double breasted in bright jewel tone colors directly sourced from the YSL archives. The fabrics were recreated from Yves Saint Laurent’s original designs from the 90s, including traditional woven tartans and plaids in electrifying colors, which infused the collection with an indelible sense of luxury.
What really made this collection so exciting was the glistening latex that accompanied each look. The most effective examples were lean, glossy high-waisted pants under big shouldered tailored jackets, which came in ochre cashmere, pearly gray flannel, navy wool, and brown houndstooth. There were also midi-length, sculpted dresses made entirely of black or red latex, which looked incredibly cool, in addition to bra tops and pencil skirts. Another provocative styling choice were the sheer bralette lace tops and body suits worn as shirts with high waisted legging trousers and skirts. In one look, a red criss-cross bra ruffle top under a black blazer looked sexy without the “did you forget to put on a shirt” weirdness.
A couple of standout looks at the end of show proved to be memorable outliers. The first was a bodycon turtleneck studded with marble shaped jewels in diagonal stripes of red, burgundy, silver, blue, and emerald, worn with black latex pants by Saint Laurent muse Mads Mullins. It’s easy to imagine on all kinds of women and is the perfect outfit for a cocktail party, birthday, or fancy date night. This was followed by a blood red velvet dress that fell just below the knee (peeping scrunched black latex boots, of course) with a tulip shaped skirt and peaked shoulders. The medieval neckline cutout shaped like a leaf or arrow added an unexpected and distinct touch.
While this collection may be heavily derivative of a bygone era, Vaccarello was smart to recognize its renewed relevance for today at just the perfect time. Integrating ladylike classics with overtly sexy modern tones reflects his keen awareness that women want to have choices on how they represent themselves. Now, once again, fashion is getting more dressed up.