We all know too well the power major celebrity beholds in fashion. Anna Wintour changed the narrative some years back, shifting the prized Vogue US cover from sylphlike models to megawatt celebrities in a move that was both bolshie and bold (and not well received at the time). Last week at Milan Fashion Week, Donatella Versace sent a svelte 50-year-old Jennifer Lopez down her Versace Spring 2020 runway in an equally daring variation of the green-leaf dress she wore to the 2000s Grammys. It was a move that “broke” the internet; phones charged in unison, the collective conduit which gave us the ferociously glamorous footage of J. Lo sashaying down the catwalk palm-print ‘a blazing. It also once again proved the unyielding influence of celebrity in fashion.
Yesterday in Paris, under a floodlit Eiffel Tower, Anthony Vaccarello closed his Saint Laurent show with Naomi Campbell. Just before her was modelling royalty, Stella Tenant. And before that, a long dramatic pause, as if to tell the crowd something – or someone – was coming. And come she did. A seemingly ageless Campbell strutted down the glistening Trocadéro in a sequinned Le Smoking suit, pillars of white light piercing Paris’ inky sky; that moment perhaps more enduring than the clothes themselves.
Iconic supermodels aside, the collection was sublime; Vaccarello realising Yves Saint Laurent’s world through a thoroughly modern lens. In particular, his signature Le Smoking of the ’60s and the Russian Collection from 1976 were put under the spotlight, Vaccarello’s starting point for Spring Summer 2020.
A kind of eclectic mash-up of the late designer’s varying aesthetics, there was both the famed cigarette pants and sharp suiting of his Smoking years, and the embroidered dresses and micro, micro shorts of the polished hippiedom that followed. Accessories, too, were varied; distinctly ’70s accoutrements like lurex-tired turbans, wide belts and slouchy seventies boots sat alongside oversized black sunglasses, bulbous corsages and the sexed-up, YSL-brandished stilettos now synonymous with the modern day Saint Laurent, while cropped denim pedal pushers and sculptural mini dresses rounded out the collection.
As always, black – a colour Vaccarello seemingly only sees the Saint Laurent world in – was all-pervasive, although through gauzy chiffon and silver-inflected lamé an unexpected softness transpired. There was also the addition of bottle green, a sheer maxi dress heavy in embellishment, glossy leopard print fashioned into a one-shouldered party frock and a brilliant gold lamé midi skirt which featured a kind of wide cummerbund of the same shimmering fabric.
And then there was Naomi, now who could forget that?