It's always great to see young blood on the catwalk - especially in Paris, established establishment home of the fashion industry and hence often scheduled up to the eyeballs with big-wigs, leaving little room for young talent to breathe. Anthony Vaccarello, a former Fendi design hand and Hyères winner, took an innovative approach, commandeering a gallery space in the centre of Paris' Palais Royale to stage a short, sharp show with booming music and laser light projections. The audience stood, but this was very much a catwalk format show - he even recruited Chanel veteran Irina Lazareanu to open it for him, just in case you were in any doubt.
Down his twisty-turny little catwalk, Vaccarello sent out, well, twisty-turny little dresses - barely a dozen at my poor count, but they were great ones at that, in black jersey or devore velvet with thick straps criss-crossing around the figure. Vaccarello has played these games before - last summer, for example - but this time there was a sleek commercial slickness to his layers of ruching and gathering, a commercial knack possibly instilled in him from stockists such as London's career-making Browns, who picked him up for A/W 2010. His dresses evoked togas and chitons, winding fluidly around the body and then suddenly stopping short, leaving a gravity-defying slash of flesh slicing through a bodice-front like a lightning-bolt. Those aren't for the faint of heart, or anyone with a less-than-perfect physique, but it's been sufficiently long since we saw new games played with these Supermodel/Azzedine Alaia/Giorgio di Sant'Angelo references for them to appear intriguing. And for a young designer striking out and making his mark, those are pretty impressive comparisons to rack up. A Paris name to watch for the future, for sure.