Friday, December 2

Hugs all round as Saint Laurent hoodie dress returns in Paris show | Saint Laurent


Under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, Saint Laurent reinvented the hoodie. Or rather it reinvented Yves Saint Laurent’s hooded dress, also known as the capuche.

First shown in 1969, it was a gown with such longevity that the designer wheeled it back out in 1985 and then again in 2002 in the final couture show before his death in 2008.

The fabric changed each time – from heavy jersey to something lighter and more transparent. But the bones were the same. Alongside the Mondrian dress, the capuche remains one of the label’s most famous garments to date.

Its creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, described his version as a “prolongation of fabric over the model’s head”, but to the rest of us, it was a dress with a hood. His de ella came in a heavy silk jersey knit in muted tones of green, bronze and purple. It was unforgiving, and floor length, but even if you didn’t have the nerve (or budget) to wear one, it was a moment of elegance in an otherwise impressive collection that married old YSL codes with the 40-year-old Belgian’s new ones.

The finale featured a sequence of elevated silky pajamas in dark tones and polka dots. Photograph: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

Saint Laurent is not a brand known for putting a premium on comfort. But the majority of the collection on show in Paris – sheer tank dresses that left little to the imagination and the five-inch heels aside – was cozy enough. For every sheer top, there was a pair of cashmere jogging bottoms and the finale featured a sequence of elevated silky pajamas in dark tones and polka dots.

Unusually for a spring collection, this was mainly a show about big, beautiful coats. They came in black and tan, resembling leather armor. Worn with the dresses, the hourglass silhouette was the most androgynous of the fashion weeks so far, as expected for a brand that famously redesigned the tuxedo for women.

The coats in the collection came in black and tan, resembling leather armor.
The coats in the collection came in black and tan, resembling leather armor. Photograph: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

Happily, there was also no fur on the lapels after Saint Laurent finally announced it would end its use this year. Even Kate Moss, one of the starrier attendees in an already starry front row (which included Zoë Kravitz, and YSL muses Jerry Hall and the former French first lady Carla Bruni) wore a faux fur version, which she promptly removed and dragged across the tiles to the delight of the vast crowds below.

Vaccarello said the dresses were designed for movement, inspired by the “tubular sheaths” worn by the choreographer Martha Graham, whose fierce, modern style razed traditional dance to the ground. Social media suggested the dress tracked closer to the Alaia versions worn by Grace Jones’ high-kicking character, May Day, in the 1985 Bond film A View to A Kill.

SThe collection managed to be both winter-proof and spring-friendly,
The collection managed to be both winter-proof and spring-friendly, Photograph: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

Either way, these were gowns to move in, which was handy given the length of the tiled catwalk at the Champ de Mars; each lap took a good few minutes.

The collection managed to be both winter-proof and spring-friendly, but it would be remiss to ignore the casting – what it made up for in racial diversity (almost half the models were non-white) it lacked in body diversity. The elongating heels didn’t help, particularly when compared with the flip-flops worn at The Row the following morning. Equally pricey and equally luxe, the collection featured a subtler but equally wall back monochrome silhouette, but more noticeably, comfortable looking models.


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