Runway Shows

Saint Laurent Fall 2024

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Saint Laurent FW24 by Anthony Vaccarello runway looks.

By the sixth or seventh look, you knew Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello wasn’t going to just give us a retread of his superlative collection from last September, which was all crisp utilitarian cotton elevated to the moon and back. By the, hmm, 18th or 19th look, maybe we weren’t going to even get something that resembled a winter collection either, save for a few chicy-chic roomily cut caban jackets (based, incidentally, on Saint Laurent’s beatnik inspired coats from way back in 1962). And by the time the last model made her way around the set of two figure-of-eight interlocking circular rooms, with their green damask curtained walls flanked by De Sede’s DS-600 Canape black leather sectional sofas (dreamily comfortable, btw), the runway like a Paris street slicked with rain, and the air heavy with the delicious scent of la premiere essence d’Opium, all was clear, or perhaps more accurately, all was sheer. Almost the entirety of Vaccarello’s 48-look collection was transparent. And all made from, I kid you not, the same fabric that’s used for tights. (I am British, and simply cannot conjunct panty and hose into one word. It sounds awful. Sorry.)

If you’re at all interested in fashion (and the fact you’re on Vogue Runway reading this says you are) or you’ve ever scrolled through Instagram (I know: constantly), or you’ve made your own tally of who won the red carpet, then you will be all too aware that transparency has become a major, major thing in the last few years. That it is the result of all sorts of complicated interactions between a generational embrace of body positivity, celebrity one upmanship, and a narcissistic show-offy display of one’s God (or Ozempic) given body. Every time it turns up, it’s like some kind of race to see who can bare what little is still left to bare, that it has gone as far as it surely can. Hasn’t it?

Then along came Anthony Vaccarello, who turned transparency on its head, in part by giving a nod to Monsieur Saint Laurent’s own tangle with the transparent, when back in 1966 he designed a sheer blouse to much clutching of pearls. (Vaccarello had also been thinking about Marilyn Monroe in her iconic Jean Louis dress to sing JFK happy birthday in 1962.) What Vaccarello did was imbue his collection with that absolute and once radical chic, and slyly comment on how banal transparency has become in our culture, and at the same beat, seeing it anew. For him, it was, Vaccarello said backstage, that right now there is just, “so much fashion, so many things that just look the same. I wanted to propose something that hadn’t been done before, that would get me excited. My job,” he continued, “isn’t always to do something that’s real or realistic.”

He delivered a taut, impeccably controlled silhouette which stretched across and around the body hither and thither, in the shape of bow-neck blouses, pencil skirts, and draped dresses to just below the knee, the shapes the very definition of propriety even if the sheerness wasn’t. All of this came in a beautiful palette that ranged from taupe to caramel to olive to ochre to chocolate brown to vermillion to black. The accessories? Whip-thin belts, in bordeaux patent leather or gilded chain links; vernis ankle strap wedge or stiletto heeled sandals; stacked lucite bangles; and—I guess these would count as accessories here—fabulous powder puff marabou jackets that were as often just casually draped over the arm as they were shrugged onto the models’ bodies. Those tights even turned up as some very Martha Graham headwraps.

Yet back to the clothes for a minute. Stocking fabric: It pulls, shreds, ladders like hell, so using it, to this extent, was clearly a way to show off the exemplary craftsmanship of the Saint Laurent ateliers—a challenge Vaccarello relished. But also, as he said himself, it was a collection intended to be ephemeral, fleeting, gone almost as quickly as it takes to watch a match ignite then the flame burn out. Yes, he readily agreed, he saw the perversity in that; the idea of a designer, where the job is so freighted with the expectation to deliver in some huge brand way, to focus instead on the pleasure of taking an idea which really inspired him personally and run with it. He already pre-empted any asking as to how the runway collection could be commercialized. “Don’t even ask me about production, I can’t tell you,” he said, with a gentle laugh. For him, doing a conventional fall show laden with the likes of outerwear was, he said, “so obvious and expected—but we will definitely have all those things to buy.”

For someone (i.e. me) writing about the shows from the vantage point of what is supposedly designed to be worn, it presents an interesting challenge: How to cover a collection which is, save for some of the aforementioned pieces, and also a few gorgeous, soft, light pantsuits, really about something that will pretty much only last till the morning? (If the models didn’t ladder the pieces getting into them, they surely would when getting out of them.) No doubt there will be an emperor’s-new-clothes crack or two, but you know, maybe it’s just fine for a designer to cut loose once in a while and do something experimental, use their collection as a place to play.

It could be Vaccarello’s instincts were right to do it this season, when so many designers are talking about reality, while their clothes look like they need a roadmap to find it, and indeed, how many of those clothes might actually ever intersect with our lives? And all of this is certainly an indication of his level of confidence in his work for the house. One other thing this writer will say: I loved the collection, yet I can imagine there might be others who feel differently, particularly given the level of breast-baring sheerness. Yet Vaccarello is cognizant of differing opinions, and is ready to embrace that too. “I’d rather people loved it or hated it,” he said, “than feel nothing at all.”

Text: Mark Holgate via VOGUE.COM


Jen Ceballos in Saint Laurent. Her plunge-neck tank top in brown is available at MYTHERESA
(Photo via @endlesslyloveclub)


Ela Hosk’s look for the FW24 SHOW.
(Photo via @hoskelsa)


Pernille Teisbaek’s look for the show.
(Photo via @pernileteisbaek)


Pernille Teisbaek and the YSL Jamie bag.
* Named after Jamie Bochert, the Jamie 4.3 shoulder bag from Saint Laurent is a new interpretation of a beloved style. Made from supple brown lambskin leather, the oversized design stays true to house codes with the Le Maillon chain, YSL monogram, and a patchwork construction inspired by the Carré River Gauche.
+ also available the suede version at MYTHERESA
* Named after Jamie Bochert, the Jamie 4.3 shoulder bag from Saint Laurent is a new interpretation of a beloved style. Made from brown suede, the oversized design stays true to house codes with the Le Maillon chain and the YSL monogram.
(Photo via @pernilleteisbaek)


Sophie Smith and Le Loafer leather loafers in black. Available at MYTHERESA and NET-A-PORTER
* «Loafers have that wonderful blend of practicality and polish that make them a true foundation piece,» writes PORTER. SAINT LAURENT’s ‘Le Loafer’ pair has been crafted in Italy from leather that’s softly ruched along the toes and embellished with a gold ‘Cassandre’ plaque at the penny slots.
(Photo via @sophielsmith)

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