There has been a lot of excitement in Paris in the last few days with Anthony Vaccarello showing his first collection for Yves Saint Laurent, Bouchra Jarrar at Lanvin, Maria Grazia Chiuri leading Dior and Pierpaolo Piccioli going solo at Valentino.
Yet in some cases the excitement didn't seem to be justified: after restoring in the brand the "Y" lost during Hedi Slimane's four-year tenure at the house, Vaccarello proceeded indeed to create a time continuum, moving from YSL's designs from the '80s and following on Slimane's path.
Vaccarello had in mind a precise design from the early '80s, a fun and sexy dress by Yves Saint Laurent, and he adequately (or inadequately) tried to remix it, producing a series of designs in leather, velvet or gold lamé.
His main inspiration produced sexed up mini-dresses, that he then broke down into bits and pieces, coming up with bustier tops or detachable sleeve elements.
The latter were a mix of a Tudor sleeve from Henry VIII's times (that will be trending come the next Spring/Summer) and a Schiaparelli leg o'mutton sleeve, with a couple of gladiator/Medieval armour references thrown in.
Some looks were indeed accompanied by a detachable sleeve that called to mind the gladiators' shoulder armours. The show took place in a former monastery, later a military headquarters, so the armour theme went well with the location.
Still, the disused armory in the Left Bank didn't do much to dispel the kitsch mood of the entire collection. The '80s were indeed also channeled via black veiled stockings with a rhinestone YSL logo around the ankle area.
A tacky vision from 1982-83, they were at the time a must have, often donned at parties to show that, no, you couldn't afford the dress, but yes, you could still buy the stockings.
Vaccarello luckily included variations of the iconic Le Smoking matched with see-through chiffon blouses (genderless, as proved by one solitary male model in the show) and featured in the collection tuxedo jackets and biker jackets that looked as if they had been made from a Moroccan rug (surely a nod to Saint Laurent's love for this country).
Relics from the '80s prevailed, though, with an inconsiderate number of asymmetric retro '80s dresses and a one-shoulder leather mini-dress cut to expose one breast.
Maybe if he had rebalanced the kitsch aspects with Catherine Deneuve's YLS wardrobe in Tony Scott's 1983 The Hunger the mood would have been slightly more elegant.
What will be appearing in the shops? Surely logo-mania and branded items with a kitsch-sexy-glamour twist about them obviously derived from the '80s. This message was introduced by the heels and earrings with the "YSL" logo designed in 1961 by Cassandre and was highlighted by the neon sign in the shape of the logo in the courtyard of the show venue.
What will be appearing in high street retailers? Detachable or single sleeves and one armed jackets (mind you, they already exist in sportswear, as patented by Under Armour in the States under the name "athletic arm warmer" - Pantent N. US 8667613 B2 - and destined to pitchers View this photo).
Mind you, it's possible to buy the former from vintage shops, while you can go for the latter by customising one of your garments.
As for Vaccarello, well, at least he didn't copy the Mondrian dress, but to go back to the fundamentals of Yves Saint Laurent and take the legacy of the brand into the future he will have to understand that the world is populated by real women with different needs and not just by girls who want to have fun, wear glitter pasties on their nipples and play at being urban Amazons in a fantasy disco jungle.