Saint Laurent´s Sorcerer’s Apprentice

It must have been a somewhat tricky week for Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director of Saint Laurent. His far more famous predecessor in the role, Hedi Slimane, is the center of attention once again in Paris, seeing as he will make his debut at his new house Celine in three nights’ time.


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Saint Laurent - Spring-Summer2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

That said, Kate Moss did look stunning in this autumn`s Saint Laurent ad campaign, captured by Inez and Vinoodh lying in the surf in one of Vaccarello´s high-glitz floral dresses, a very fine magazine image. However, the ad should have alerted us about what was to come.
 
The set did look pretty magnificent, a giant, three-inch-deep black pool of water surrounded on one side by ten shiny all-white palm trees, on another the audience on 100-meters of bleacher seating and to the south the Eiffel Tower. Illuminated at exactly 8PM on Tuesday night, which signaled the start of the show. In the distance, several thousand fans watched expectantly from outside, a neat democratic gesture.
 
However, one has to wonder which individual had the absurd idea of requiring every model to walk all the way down the pool?
 
Of course, the easy headline will be "Saint Laurent models walk on water". And it might well make for a novel video, but on an evening of a sudden fall chill, it just looked a little daft, especially as many of the cast wore chiffon pants and blouses. All a little trying too hard.
 
As for the clothes, they were occasionally excellent, like the white pinstripe blazers or the cool military jackets with frogging or the natty four-pocket boleros or especially the Renaissance princess white shirts that sprouted yards of lace cuffs.
 
But much of this collection was familiar, whether the contrast lapel tuxedo, endless hot-pants, Native American-inspired suede tunics and multiple versions of ankle-length, transparent black or big cat chiffon gowns. Hard not to notice how many of the cast had furrowed brows as they concentrated hard on not falling into the murky water.
 

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Saint Laurent - Spring-Summer2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

One imagines a fun production meeting when they dreamed up this staging, but in the end it just seemed silly and rather forced, and somehow not very Saint Laurent. Hard to imagine Yves enjoying it. A show not helped by a belching industrial soundtrack, which sounded like one was locked up in the engine room of a decaying Death Star.
 
An experiment that fell flat, just before the return of Slimane to Paris after two years’ exile in Los Angeles.
 
Indeed, it reminded some of that famous Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene in Fantasia where the junior enchants a broom to do his work for him, after his boss has departed. But then almost destroys his master´s laboratory by being unable to stop the broom, who duly floods the whole place.

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