Synonymous with the place itself, Saint Laurent, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior all jostle for the position of being Paris's chicest ally. For S/S 18, Anthony Vaccarello put the Paris back into Saint Laurent with an en plein air statement show, which threatened to topple the rest. Dry ice poured onto a polished concrete runway right in front of the Eiffel Tower. Guests had all been asked to arrive at least 15 minutes early. The Eiffel Tower 'twinklies' started up the minute the lights on the venue went down for showtime. All pre-planned and orchestrated, the audience ooh-ed and aah-ed.
A sudden pounding drum beat started up and the audiences' heart skipped a collective beat. Design wise, Vaccarello didn't skip a beat - it was still business as usual. But there was an evolution of sorts. A more sumptuous idea of glamour was present this time around. Bejewelled numbers with knee length boots provided a progression from last season and this was more playful than the last. This collection even felt psychedelic in places, evoking mish-mash moodboard images of Talitha Getty at an eighties disco in Marrakech. This theme continued into menswear, with multicoloured sequin butterflies or rainbow hues across jackets. The women initially stormed out in an Yves military-infused get up of khaki, tassels and blazers, which was followed by another Yves-infused harem section. Although there were global references here - for a global party girl - this was short, sexy and sharp. Vaccarello might be working with colour now, cobalt blue and magenta for instance, and he's certainly working with conceptual volume. The lengths were signature thigh-high - whether as a pair of shorts or a bejewelled cocktail dress. The squishy knee length boots obviously sold well last season. They were back again. This time as balletic feathered versions. Sideways on, which is how the audience viewed the collection, the boots boomed from the frame and created a dramatic silhouette. Not everyone's cup of tea, but it was certainly a strong proposition. With a few looks dedicated to the combination of a beautiful laser cut white blouse worn with black leather shorts and ankle boots, a quick flurry of a conceptual wedding dress storming by seemed like the rounding off of a collection that kind of ended up feeling like clothes.
One hoped that the non fashion onlookers that peered over the concrete wall - tourists who were there for the Eiffel Tower - were at least going to get a show. Vaccarello didn't disappoint. Like last season, he brought out a finale section that offered more of an experimental take on things. Made up of theatrical volumes and headpieces, these were the most conceptual design objects he has ever created. Some of them reminded one of Hedi's couture finale for the house. Some were very much his own. Those historical necklines were his for sure. As they too were Yves's. The dry ice swirled over the last final looks - a series of 'Le Smoking' style tuxedo jump suits and dresses in black sequin - and the Eiffel Tower was twinkling again. With cinematic strings a gogo, soundtrack wise, it was like a Saint Laurent disco spaceship of Starship Enterprise proportions had landed in Paris. With this show's location and its in-sync lighting collaboration with the Eiffel Tower, this was the house of Saint Laurent saying not only is it a part of Paris, but that it is Paris itself.