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Saint Laurent Fall 2017 - Runway Review

Call it Saint Laurent under construction. Anthony Vaccarello's highly-anticipated sophomore collection for the iconic French house took place on an active construction site amphitheater that is to be the brand’s future headquarters—a fitting metaphor the creative reconstruction of the Maison following Hedi Slimane’s departure.

As rain sprinkled from one side of the venue and smoke, the other, the fast-flying show commenced in rock concert fashion (guests sat on tiered stadium seating wrapped in Saint Laurent blankets). But make no mistake. This was no Slimane redux. The mix of shimmering disco dresses and peaked, tuxedo shoulder pantsuits stormed the runway—Vaccarello showcasing his craft in all his brazen, provocative glory.

Fall drew on the party heritage of the YSL brand during the golden years—but elevated. That equated to plunging necklines and signature slashed asymmetry. Patent fetish-like black leather came alongside exposed breasts. While uber-mini dresses — the staple silhouette — teased the eye with knee-high-, and sometimes stripper-, boots. There were plenty of day looks to love, including a denim jacket rendered in sheared mink and shearling as well as an ivory mohair sweater worn with a pleated skirt. Ruched boots were all over this show, an accessory whose exaggerated length was evident in the ultra-long gloves as well.

Much of it remained rooted in what the Italo-Belgian designer used to do under his own name. Still, there were some nice creative twists, like a leg of mutton sleeve made literally out of mutton or cognac leather draped into dresses. Elsewhere, there were some skillful abstract plays on leather ruffles — and the ruched boots will fly off the shelves. For the final lap, Vaccarello’s models paraded out in tiny, sculpted, curvaceous after-dark looks, dripping in thousands of rhinestones. There was also a simplistic homage black dress embroidered with a purple flower and green leaves. They were spectacular, in particular a diamond cable-knit sweater.