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3rd March 2022

PARIS FASHION WEEK HIGHLIGHT: SAINT LAURENT STEALS EVERY STYLE CROWN

By Nancy Buckland Kirk for Blankstone

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As the Fashion Week circus moved from Milan, and arrived in Paris the world felt like a different place. Giorgio Armani sent out his models in silence as a sign of respect for what was happening outside of the style bubble. It finished off a week of colourful, riotous, technologically enhanced looks. Gucci paired up with Adidas, Moschino went Bladerunner and Versace looked like an homage to the metaverse. Fendi put on the more traditional of shows, referencing the work of previous designer-in-chief, the late, great Karl Lagerfeld: lots of floaty fabrics with a seemingly never-ending display of striking accessories. The bags alone were worth tuning in via Instagram Live.

Paris got out of its own blocks and the supermodels came out in force at Off White, to pay their own respects to the label’s founder, Virgil Abloh, who sadly passed away in 2021. A young visionary, his work always remained about the modern. At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri put on a show where Dune-met-technology-met-tailoring. As a lover of fashion, and also someone who longs to find herself reflected somewhere along the way, I just wanted to see something I could wear.

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Along came Anthony Vaccarello and Saint Laurent: the simplest of shows, again with the Eiffel Tower sparkling as a backdrop, the Belgian-born maestro of fashion magic produced something so special that I was left speechless. That, dear reader, is a rare occasion. I can say that the models were very tall, and very slender. I am long past the stage where it puts me off the outfits – because they were so beautiful, they would suit anyone. That is what the best of the best achieve with their designs: they will shine for anyone who sees their sun. They may be exclusive, but any woman could walk into Saint Laurent and walk out with something achingly classic and still cool.

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It’s not easy to define this collection: it felt a little bit early 1980’s (I’m thinking Calvin Klein), with a huge nod to the history of the house of Yves Saint Laurent itself. Vaccarello is becoming a master and harnessing elements of Yves’ own trademark tailoring points, and adding his own, unique twists. Le Smoking got an update: shoulders are getting padded, but only in a subtle way. For me, this is perfection. I can’t tell you one thing about this look that I would change, alter or improve upon.

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The collection was very dark in terms of shading: I mean, who doesn’t love a beautifully draped black dress?

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I loved that the designer sent out models in evening dresses, with rich cashmere coats over the top. Every woman knows that donning a silk dress on an evening when there is no summer breeze means you need to wear something over your showstopper. Now all you need is a perfectly cut coat that you can also slip on during the day. Just add a Saint Laurent corsage.

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There were some beautiful leather jackets and coats, and I did gasp at the amount of fur: luckily Saint Laurent confirmed that it was all fake. It certainly added a huge amount of glamour. The pared down hair and make-up kept it away from Dynasty territory.

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The accessories raised the game above anything I have seen at any of the shows so far: every single one was just sculpted. From chunky bracelets to satin heels to huge earrings, they were all designed to be noticed: forget understatement.

I love that Saint Laurent isn’t scared of showing sunglasses on their catwalks: they quite happily send many of the models into the flashlights, in next season shades. They fitted the mood of the show just perfectly; dark, sculptural and a little bit Grace-Jones-Meet-Studio-57. They were just hugely glamorous and elegant at the same time.

As I type there are still some shows to report on – next time I’ll be looking at Chanel. But for now, the moment belongs to Anthony Vaccarello. At the end of the show, I went through every single look, and pictured myself in a smoky nightclub somewhere in Paris, with Grace Jones singing Victor Should Have Been A Jazz Musician in the background. Then I’d make an exit into a vintage Rolls Royce, because a girl’s got to be up early to star in a Bryan Ferry video the next day.

So maybe I might need a time machine as well as a new wardrobe budget, but that’s what the very best fashion is about: it dares you to dream. When next season arrives, the team at Blankstone know me well: I’ll be knocking at the door to at least try on every piece of Autumn/Winter 2022 Saint Laurent eyewear. That’s my kind of attainable dream.

At this moment in time, we all need a few dreams to see us through.

Images courtesy of Vogue Runway/Saint Laurent

Nancy is a noted fashion writer and reporter, who will be contributing her own style slant for our Blog: eyewear, trends and beyond.

You can view the current Saint Laurent at Blankstone eyewear collection here:

https://www.blankstoneopticians.co.uk/product_brand/yves-saint-laurent/