So what came first with Anthony Vaccarello’s epic (in all senses of the word) winter 2021? The collection or the location where it was filmed? If your answer is the latter, then well done: You win! Against the most jaw-dropping of backdrops, with sheer-drop cliff faces, crashing waves, and a beach that shimmers like diamonds on slate at night, Vaccarello’s gals, quite possibly the most badass—and besuited and bejeweled—rock chicks ever, are shown striding as if on some fantastic odyssey.
“When I was thinking about this collection, I had this place in mind, like a movie director,” Vaccarello said on a call to preview his collection. “It’s the idea of a girl in a landscape where she doesn’t belong. I knew I wanted a wintry location,” he went on to say, “one which showed how strong nature is; how we are really nothing next to it, how ephemeral we are. It’s not a place where anyone is going skiing, but Saint Laurent should do something that’s like a dream: What the F?! Why is she there?”
The question of why this winter’s Saint Laurent woman is indeed there is left hanging somewhere in the movie’s moody overcast skies, but no matter; that’s only a positive. Every season Vaccarello’s exploration of the YSL archive has a welcome air of mystery to it; there has never been any literal, first-degree rehashing of the back catalog’s greatest hits on his watch. (And that’s not all that’s mysterious, by the way; Vaccarello laughed off every attempt to reveal the film’s magical location.)
This time round, he was drawn to Monsieur Saint Laurent’s classically elegant mid ’60s tailleurs rendered in menswear fabrics; just the kind of thing Belle wore when she started working during du Jour. He ratcheted up the cool factor by cutting the jackets lean and sinuous and then matching the length of their hems to his skirts. (Yep, they’re short.) Then he swapped out Saint Laurent’s then preferred monochromatic palette with a fabulously opulent and in your face array of violet, cobalt, gold, and chartreuse: “It’s the shapes of the ’60s with the colors of the ’80s,” Vaccarello said by way of explanation.
Finishing the looks off, he slipped gleaming metallic stretch bodysuits or the tiniest of leather miniskirts under the tailoring. Then he loaded up on the bijoux, great gleaming gorgeous fistfuls of the stuff; chandelier earrings, strasse bracelets, and chokers with a four-leaf-clover motif, something else sourced from the archive. It would be remiss not to mention the ultra-long leather boots (shades of very early YSL, when he was in his Beat phase) or the wickedly pointy metal-tipped heels. Watching Mica Argañaraz navigate a stony cliff edge in them like she’s wearing sneakers gives a whole new meaning to the appellation “rock goddess.”