At Saint Laurent, the New Le Smoking Is Le Shorts

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Saint Laurent fall 2018

Anthony Vaccarello showed his fall 2018 collection for the house on Tuesday night in Paris.

If there was one big fashion take-away from the Time’s Up Golden Globes and BAFTAs red-carpet dress codes, it’s that all-black as a style statement is anything but uniform, and can often reveal the most subtle and elegant differences in heightened detail.

Saint Laurent designer Anthony Vaccarello seemed to take that lesson to heart, showing a nearly all-black fall 2018 collection on Tuesday night. In this time of Time’s Up, it’s worth remembering the feminist legacy of the house's namesake Yves Saint Laurent, who helped revolutionize fashion and gender in 1966 when he showed the women’s tuxedo, or le smoking, suggesting that if men could wear it, so could women.

Well, the days of the power suit are back — or long gone, depending on what runway you're looking at this season. To his credit, Vaccarello didn't exactly revisit the past, but instead offered a 2018 alternative, one that puts a women’s anatomy (her bare legs, in particular) front and center. The new Saint Laurent le smoking is le shorts — luxe dolphin shorts, in fact, done in black leather or fur-trimmed. Worn with boxy velvet braid-trimmed jackets, leather blazers, lace-inset peasant blouses or T-shirts, often with a wide brimmed hat over the eyes, the effect was dark and glamorous. (Rihanna wore Saint Laurent’s spring runway high-waist shorts and pink ruffle top for her 30th birthday last week.)

If not entirely revolutionary (how many women have twig model legs, after all?), at least it was directional and new, so kudos to Vaccarello for that.

For the more modest, there were a few pairs of flared black jeans and trousers, worn with chic black tops with undulating necklines highlighting the bosom. In addition to shorts, there was a whole host of black mini-dresses, one with a dramatic half-moon-shaped single sleeve worn by Kaia Gerber, another with beaded epaulettes and a third with razor-sharp power shoulders.

For the finale, black faded to color, as yet more mini-dresses came out in rapid fire, each one in a different design of floral sequin embroidery. Vaccarello kept the looks grounded in the now by placing little pockets in the dresses and having models wear street-wise platform booties.

When guests exited the tent, a sparkling Eiffel Tower was the encore.

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