The who’s who of the international men’s fashion cohort is seated in anticipation for Anthony Vaccarello’s first men’s show for Saint Laurent. But, instead of a trendy borough in Paris, we’re in New York. Technically, we’re in New Jersey. We’re perched high on a bespoke-build runway—a matrix of steel scaffolding constructed on the water’s edge of Liberty State Park on Jersey shore—and across the Hudson River, One World Trade Centre is towering over downtown New York City; the iconic skyline glittering in the twilight.
Earlier that day, the press were treated to the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition currently on show at the Brooklyn Museum until 15 July—a visual and aural treat with Bowie’s avant-garde tour outfits and memorabilia seamlessly paired with audio files and music tracks played through headphones handed out to attendees. Naturally, given the context, we’re expecting a Bowie-heavy collection for the Saint Laurent spring/summer 2019 collection.
Want to know what ensued? Listen to the audio review below.
Given the importance of the first and last look to end a runway show, we will be focusing on Vaccarello’s choice of exits to start and finish his collection—it’s what we’re calling our ‘alpha male’ and ‘last man standing’ review. Why? Because it’s a good snapshot of the designer’s vision. It’s efficient. And it’s all you need to know.
Alpha male (first look, below): Contrary to general expectations, the collection was themed ‘Cowboy meets Marrakech’ with only minor references to David Bowie (everyone was expecting red hair and grand flamboyance given our excursion to the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum earlier that same day). And this blend of two concepts was apparent from the get-go. Kicking off the show on a cool New York evening (guests were handed black Saint Laurent blankets to stave off the chill), a longhaired model traipsed out in a notch-lapel black blazer with contrast leather shoulder patches (cowboy) worn over a black tunic-collared shirt hemmed with sequins and mirror-embroidery (Marrakech). Highlight? Those snakeskin boots—also available in black eel and multi-coloured patchwork python.
Last man standing (last look, above): An all-black ensemble (surprise!) closed the show but was given textural interest by way of a truncated tuxedo jacket appliqued with three-dimensional flowers crafted from a combination of ostrich, goose and rooster feathers—how you would clean this, we have no idea. But really, who cares when your plumage is this fabulous. And how about those black straw boater hats? Routinely topping off exits throughout the collection, they came accessorised with leather hatbands and flowing silk scarves.
Where was the Bowie influence you ask? By way of 70s flared trousers, intricately hand-beaded leather trucker jackets and shawl-collared blazers, as well as the closing procession of topless models wearing black sequined trousers with their bodies slathered in silver glitter paint. Vaccarello’s very own ‘star men’ as a homage to Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust? The perfect finale with a twinkling New York skyline serving as the backdrop.
Click through the gallery below for all the looks from the Saint Laurent spring/summer 2019 collection.