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Paris Fashion Week: Anthony Vaccarello's Saint Laurent is a sheer delight

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Saint Laurent F24 049 Credits: Spotlight Launchmetrics

Anthony Vaccarello’s vision for Saint Laurent’s Fall 2024 presentation turned out to be a sheer delight, quite literally, as the transparent and couture-like hosiery on display felt like an exercise in transparent craftsmanship.

It was indeed pantyhose-chic. From sculpted body-hugging dresses, ruched tops, and turban hats to all those leggings, it was a joy to see a designer at the top of his game gamble on a non-commercial vision. With all the nudity of proposing a see-through fabric, it would obviously open the door to criticism, but more on that later.

Hosiery is one of the most difficult fabrics to manipulate. Even after a design is sewn into a physical garment with the best technical prowess, the likelihood of a snag, ladder, or cut happening is extraordinarily high. A "not if, but when" scenario seems apt. Tights do not last a lifetime, nor even a season. Generally, they last a few wears at best.

But that didn’t detract from Mr. Vaccarello’s extraordinary vision. Despite it being a "nightmare" for the Saint Laurent atelier, as he acknowledged post-show, he underscored his bold choice. "I wanted to do something very fragile. Don’t ask me about how we might produce it," he told WWD. "I think my job is to propose something different that is not necessarily realistic or necessary."

Wherever one stands on the sheer fabric debate, there were hooks and looks that will draw in customers, from the jewel-toned furs, which also came in a spectrum of nudes, to the art deco earrings and accessories, mannish blazers, sculpted leather pieces, and silk blousons. Yes, there were real clothes on display, too.

Some could not see past the craft or purpose of building a collection around hosiery. The New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, shocked at the vision of so many breasts and skinny models on the runway, stated, "the pictures can’t even be shown in this family newspaper." She also called it a misjudged collection because of the politics of women’s bodies. Unlike children, breasts should not be seen, one could surmise.

In the fourth and final week of ready-to-wear fashion month, not seeing the same runway themes and commercial realities that create the crux of the business of fashion is laudable. Saint Laurent is Kering’s next-in-line cash cow after Gucci, and the commercial stakes for both the Maison and Group are palpable, as it remains an underdog in terms of turnover and growth to rival LVMH.

Letting the artistry speak

The fact that Mr. Vaccarello can deviate from the brand’s commercial vision board, without the input of a sales team's spreadsheets full of data, analytics and range plan of garment categories based on sell-throughs and retail merchandising, means he can be an artist in addition to creatively leading a house that sells billions of euros of clothes, bags, and perfumes each year.

When most luxury brands show four womenswear collections a year, do we really need to see physical, purchasable clothes every time? Can there not be a space for designers to create art? Whether or not that art is appreciated is irrelevant. There should be no runway parameters that measure wearability. Breasts on show or not. Otherwise, Comme des Garçons would have been out of business decades ago. And the fashion industry needs visionaries like Rei Kawakubo. And Anthony Vaccarello.

Saint Laurent Fall 2024 Credits: Spotlight Launchmetrics
Anthony Vaccarello
Paris Fashion Week
Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent