In Anthony Vaccarello’s second collection for Yves Saint Laurent as creative director, femininity was presented in a fierce and powerful fashion.
Held at a scaffolding laden set which provided an almost dystopian feel to the show, the standout theme of the show was their use of contrasting textures. Leather was continuously present, in androgynous military style dresses to frilled miniskirts and most of the outfits used the same black leather pirate heeled boots that held an air of Julia Roberts ‘Pretty Woman’ about them, giving the collection a hardened edge. The use of softer fabrics to counter act this provided an aesthetically pleasing outcome; shearling collars on leather jackets, silk and chiffon skirts gliding effortlessly through the air, lace detailing on the trims of the leather dresses. Instead of the collection feeling like a battle between femininity and sensuality, it felt like the two went hand in hand and Vaccarello seemed to be making a statement that the concepts are not mutually exclusive.
He did however stay true to Saint Laurent’s roots, with the delicate tulle, ruffles and heavy velvet offerings momentarily taking away attention from the harsh aspects of the collection and giving us the classic Parisienne woman vibes, spun with a 70s feel. A big hit in Milan Fashion Week, he incorporated the 70s more gently through the styles of clothing rather than patterns; cream polo neck jumpers, a mixture of oversized bell and peasant sleeves on chiffon blouses. However, even these more feminine and floaty pieces fell prey to the dark hues and often black colour theme of the entire show which upheld the aim for a harsher view of femininity and staying true to the almost gothic nature that Saint Laurent revels in time and time again.
Vaccarello’s depiction of the strong Parisienne woman in the AW17 collection might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s undeniable that his risk of challenging femininity paid off, showing you can have the best of both worlds.