When it comes to menswear, it tends to be an evolution rather than a revolution. Cut, colour and silhouette are tweaked season after season, perfected through practised precision, rather than changed wholesale. Babies are definitely not thrown out with the bathwater.
And this maxim is none more true than when it comes to Anthony Vaccarello’s menswear designs for Saint Laurent.
10-word review: Cowboy meets Aladdin for a sparkly carpet ride to Malibu.
This time last year, the menswear cognoscenti were shipped out to Liberty State Park in New Jersey—the glittering lights of Manhattan serving as a hypnotic backdrop to Vaccarello’s first standalone men’s show for the French maison—as a ‘70s-inspired collection ruled the runway in black blazers striped in gold; collared-blousons embroidered with circular mirrors, reminiscent of Marrakech; and a closing procession of male models touting skin-tight leather trousers with their naked torsos slathered in silver metallic paint. Bowie? Ziggy Stardust, in fact. Rock chic by way of scholarly insouciance.
But for this spring/summer 2020 outing, New York was traded for Malibu shores, with the runway crafted right into Paradise Cove, bordered by jagged cliffs on one side and crashing waves on the other. Vaccarello postponed the show from 6pm to 730pm, and then again from 730pm to 8pm, all in hopes of bathing his runway with dapple sunset light, but alas, it wasn’t to be. Instead of a classic Californian bleed of citrus skies, guests were sat facing an ominous horizon looming with storm clouds and an ever-growing tide nipping on the black-painted timber runway. Vaccarello wanted romance, God dished out drama.
When it came to the clothes, the design signatures remained: all-black ensembles ruled the roost; cigarette jeans were routinely anchored with leather boots; and metallic blazers were paraded interchangeably with military blousons. But look a little closer and you start to realise that, hey, wait a minute, the silhouettes are looser (a laid-back ease); the Saint Laurent sparkle took shape by way of sheer shirting that graduated into silk tunics (hello Marrakech!); and straw wide-brim hats punctuated the runway (Californian cowboy). To hammer home the seaside escape, there were even some refreshing all-white suits. Crowd favourite? The closing procession of high-waisted silk or lamé harem trousers cinched at the waist with wide studded belts. Aladdin? Sure, by way of Elton John visiting a rodeo.
Favourite look: The surprise of look 16 with its studded denim cut-offs worn with a tank top layered under an open black shirt, and a billowing beige trench coat. Relaxed yet chic yet playful. Kind of like a confused Californian trying to deal with rain. Nailed it.
Favourite accessory: Straw Cowboy hats accessorized with feathers in their leather bands. Do as Vaccarello instructs and wear them with anything from sheer knit tops and white safari jackets to denim shirts and black dinner jackets.