Anthony Vaccarello has shown he can do short and sexy with the best of them. When that's on the Paris fashion week schedule, 'the best of them' means the best designers in the world. What Vaccarello set out to do for Autumn/Winter 2012, however, was to add another string to his bow and show he was offering a wardrobe, not just bandage-tight party dressing. He's a long term thing, not just a one-night frock.
Hence when the opening model appeared (it was Karlie Kloss, but you quickly lost count given the Glamazon roster stalking this catwalk), she was wearing a utility parka, slender trousers and shirt all cut from navy duchesse. Covered from head to toe, in fact. The next model showed more flesh, but the idea of utility and sobriety was the same, as was the focus on sports and day, cargo pockets bristling on easily-cut coats and skirts, even when cleaved at the upper thigh. There was a genuine feeling that Vaccarello was trying to push his look onwards. He offered lots of trousers this time, cut high in the rise and slender in the leg, sometimes with one of Vaccarello's trademark gravity-defying drape tops throttling the torso underneath, sometimes folding into a 'demi jacket' - which does exactly what it suggests, Those didn't quite gel - they looked great on the models, but struck you as a bit Ziggy Stardust for normal life. Much better abstracted into origami pleats of fabric standing in three-dimensions against the body, especially in Vaccarello's palette-pushing mix of satin with laminated lurex-threaded silk in green, gold and glittering black.
The showpiece stumble of chopped-up jackets were the exceptions, rather than the rule - pretty much everything else could segue faultlessly into a woman's wardrobe. Considering Vaccarello's last collection was churlishly critiqued by some for only catering to the very late night-lives of the very young, its evidence of this designers willingness to push himself beyond his comfort zone and try something new. That's what fashion should be all about, when its really exciting. As ever, Vaccarello proved himself up to the challenge of opening Paris fashion week with a bang.