A Look at Saint Laurent’s latest creative director: Anthony Vaccarello
Following the controversial exit of the hugely successful Hedi Slimane, Anthony Vaccarello has had some pretty big boots to fill. The fashion world’s game of musical chairs continues to surprise everyone. Formerly the creative director of Versace’s young, hip sibling — Versus Versace Anthony Vaccarello is another product of the Versus incubator of emerging talented designers. As of April this year, Vaccarello was named the new creative director of Yves Saint Laurent.
Donatella Versace said in a statement “While I’m sad to see him leave the Versace family, I wish Anthony Vaccarello tremendous success with his next chapter.” After the 36 year old Italian –Belgian designer announced his departure, just hours before the decision for the Saint Laurent job was revealed. The president and chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent, Francesca Bellettini discussed “His modern, pure aesthetic is the perfect fit for the maison.” When asked about the appointment of Mr. Vaccarello.
Under Slimane’s leadership, the legendary Saint Laurent house was modernized and revitalized to huge success, becoming the go-to brand for the rich and famous while profits skyrocketed. That’s not to say Slimane was without his detractors, though. His self-styled “Reform Project” was all-encompassing. He revamped flagship stores, shot the house’s advertising campaigns himself, relocated its design studio to LA and revived its couture collection – but only for those he personally deemed worthy. Most controversially, Slimane dropped “Yves” from the house’s brand name, rebranding them simply as “Saint Laurent Paris.” That particular move caused outrage among high-fashion purists, many of whom regard Yves Saint Laurent as the greatest designer of all time. It’s fair to say Slimane had a love hate following, but was undoubtedly successful for the brands capital.
In contrast, Slimane’s replacement; Anthony Vaccarello, is a modest Belgian, who previously worked under Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi, before launching his eponymous womenswear line in 2011. Just last year, he was tapped by Donatella Versace. The softly-spoken Belgian designer was described by Harper’s Bazaar as “the definition of unperturbed…resolutely low-key about seemingly everything” – a far cry from Slimane, who seemed to invoke controversy at every turn, and wasn’t afraid of the occasional headline feud. Vaccarello has gained a bit of a reputation for dressing famous women – Gisele Bündchen, Jennifer Lopez, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are just some of the names seen adorning his creations on the red carpet. His work has always been notoriously feminine, so it will be interesting to see the transition Yves Saint Laurent will make in its SS17 catwalk shows. One thing is for sure, we can expect to see star-studded shows given Vaccarello’s relationships with the rich and famous – expect more Bieber and A$AP Rocky.
During Vaccarello’s short tenure at Versace’s diffusion line, the label’s codes for a younger audience were re-jigged. A darker, sportier, youthful vision of the Italian house’s aesthetic was created. Again, that understanding of what cool, young people like to wear will no doubt be of great use when working at Saint Laurent, which has been so successful in targeting those big-spending millennials. However, it is arguably Slimane’s rebellious, rock and roll influenced, music culture that gained the brand such success recently. Whereas Vaccarello is youthful, his lines have taken a much more ‘low-key’ feel to them over the years, so we will have to wait and see what the future holds.
The first collection from Saint Laurent’s new creative director will be in October during Paris’s SS17 womenswear week. While his men’s debut will likely follow in January 2017. Stay Tuned.