The tubular sheath worn by the great Martha Graham for her 1930 choreography Lamentation – enveloping the body from head to toe– had a profound impact on visual culture and fashion, an influence that rippled far beyond the world of dance and across time. It is evident in numerous collections by Yves Saint Laurent – from the hooded, diaphanous chiffon dresses he made for a collaboration with Claude Lalanne in 1969 to the indelible modernity of Spring Summer Haute Couture 1985, when a prolongation of fabric over the model’s head lent a casual connotation to several looks. Even the house founder’s last show, fall winter Haute Couture 2002, reprised the theme.
These precedents – especially Yves’ hooded ‘capuche’ pieces from the mid-1980s, which established an iconic key motif for the brand – provided a pivotal point of reference for Anthony Vaccarello as he set out to combine, for the Summer 2023, an essential attitude with the ultra-refined, elongated silhouette presented last season.
Radical fluidity defines the collection, expressed through silk jersey knits. Floor-length dresses evince an elegant ease, balanced with masculine outerwear quintessentially Saint Laurent by Vaccarello: wool coats with strong shoulders as well as leather bombers and trenches. Sumptuously muted colors hark back to signature Saint Laurent moments, while legs are bare yet concealed by a relentlessly columnar silhouette. A sheer tank dress, cashmere pants, and pajama-inspired satin looks exemplify the sophisticated effortlessness that runs through the collection, juxtaposed to potent effect with sculptural wood and gold jewelry.
The set, an essence of Paris, distilled and exaggerated to a cinematic scale: the terraces, fountains and views of the iridescent city – a sublime backdrop for Vaccarello’s evolving vision.