Last night, Anthony Vaccarello brought Saint Laurent to New York for the maison’s most hotly anticipated event yet – its men’s Spring 2019 collection.
Following two triumphant shows in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the creative director turned to the Big Apple to host his men’s spring/summer ’19 fashion show at Liberty State Park on June 6; marking the brand’s first major New York event since founder Yves Saint Laurent staged a legendary launch party for his fragrance Champagne in September 1994 at the Statue of Liberty.
Part of a newly created NYFW season, which is listed in the fashion calendar of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), guests were ferried from Brookfield Place, along the Hudson River, to Liberty State Park for the spectacular show.
Since his appointment at Saint Laurent in April 2016, Vaccarello has presented men’s and women’s designs together as part of the traditional women’s wear calendar in Paris. The show last night was his first to concentrate on the men’s collection, however he still couldn’t resist throwing in the odd women’s piece, too.
The show took place on a specially built stage with a huge scaffolding structure and a black marble runway – true to the YSL aesthetic. As the night fell, the Manhattan skyline lit up in the background. It was Saint Laurent, and New York, at its finest.
“New York is freedom, a city brimming with energy and possibilities: the perfect backdrop to frame the spirit of this menswear collection. Crossing wardrobe boundaries, dressing women, too,” said Anthony Vaccarello.
There’s no denying that Vaccarello has a penchant for nostalgia, and his #YSLNY men’s SS19 fashion show certainly had an air of old school rock ‘n roll style. Vaccarello channeled the rebellious attitude of legendary rock stars, producing a collection that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Mick Jagger or David Bowie.
Skinny jeans and slim-fitting trousers were teamed with sharp-shouldered blazers, or tuxedo jackets in refined textures including crushed velvet, intricate embroideries, and leather. Accessories included pointed, snakeskin ankle boots and silk scarves tied loosely around the neck. The women’s pieces were identical to the men’s, with the collection proving to be gender fluid. The grand finale saw the men walk down the runway in high-shine leather trousers and no tops, with their torsos painted in silver paint and glitter. While Vaccarello called it an “urban macadam cowboy” look, the vibe was reminiscent of Studio 54, evoking the spirit of the experimental fashion scene of the Seventies.
With the CFDA awards having just taken place on June 4 at Brooklyn Museum, the star-studded front row included Kate Moss, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Ezra Miller, Lauryn Hill, Selah Marley, and Travis Scott.
The decision to show in June is part of the new American fashion season established by CFDA CEO Steven Kolb. This came after Alexander Wang decided to hold his shows in June and January, aligning with the pre-collection schedule instead of the traditional February and September calendar.
As the new face for Saint Laurent, Lennon Gallagher, son of Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, also strutted down the runway oozing a rebellious quality synonymous with his father and uncle, Noel. The 18-year-old also stars in the #YSL16 campaign video and adverts alongside models of the moment Noah Martin, Paris model Lenny Diaw, Eduards Kraule, and Erin Mommsen. In the campaign video, which echoes the attitude portrayed in the show, Gallagher is the ultimate moody bad boy.
When interviewed by Vogue in December 2017 about potentially presenting a collection in New York, Vaccarello said: “I like change and surprise. Even to surprise myself and not to be in that whole routine of always doing the same thing. I would want there to be the feeling that you’re really in New York that you truly get the vibe of the city.” Well, we can safely say he achieved that.