Designer Focus: Anthony Vaccarello
“I think of everything Saint Laurent when I begin a collection, but I don’t set out to make a Saint Laurent collection,” he said over coffee one morning a few weeks earlier in New York. “The weight of the house is so heavy that I would be blocked. Anyway,” he continued, “when you’re inside the house, you don’t think about it. I think it’s mostly in the eyes of other people. Everyone has a vision of what they think Saint Laurent should be, and that’s something I knew when I started. I knew that whatever I did, some people would love it and some would hate it. It was the same with Hedi, and Stefano [Pilati] before him. I’m fine with it. In fact, I kind of love it.”
Vaccarello’s debut, for Spring 2017, was presented at Saint Laurent’s future headquarters at rue de Bellechasse, which were in mid-renovation, a huge YSL neon logo suspended by a crane over the proceedings—an environment ripe with symbolism if ever there was one. The pieces were a mix of black leather, faded blue jeans, and sandals cantilevered into YSL metal heels (a design detail that proved to be Instagram catnip, much like the stiletto pumps attached to roller skates, the shoulder-length aviator shearling gauntlets, and the disco-ball crystal-encrusted long boots that would follow in seasons to come).
His aesthetic has also infused the house with the kind of charged eroticism that characterized it under M. Saint Laurent, who walked the line between the masculinity of suiting and an unabashed (sometimes brazenly so) celebration of female sexuality. “It’s not about provocation,” he says. “It’s about freedom. Legs make everything look more modern and sporty, without being ‘sporty.’ ” It’s an approach reflective of a millennial’s attitude to the body, which prizes the right to reveal as much as conceal—think of the young women comfortable in their skimpy short-shorts.
For Pre-Fall 2020, for the first time we saw C-O-L-O-R.