Have you ever wondered what someone else thinks about you, or what people from other countries think when they visit the U.S.? Parisian designer Anthony Vaccarello has been visiting the United States rather extensively lately, especially the Mid- and SouthWest. His interpretations of what he saw heavily influenced his designs for this autumn/winter collection and the results are, from this perspective, amusing.
Don’t think for a second that Vaccarello has filled out his tight-fitting short-skirted look to Midwestern standards by any stretch of the imagination. He remains true to his Parisian roots with looks that are every bit as slinky and body hugging as ever. This is his brand DNA and we wouldn’t know what to think if he were suddenly to send bulky sweaters or heavy long skirts down the runway. What he does, though, is brilliantly incorporate motifs into his designs, sometimes obvious, and other times more subtle.
Where he is obvious is with fringe and stars. Fringe isn’t something all that terribly unusual in fashion, especially this season, so it might be a bit of a stretch to argue that fringe is necessarily an American touch, but when combined with the overall look it feels like something straight out of the tales of Dan’l Boone. What he does with stars really shines though (pun totally intended). Using them as metallic cutouts on jacket lapels and especially along the hems of those already very short skirts is as blatant as fireworks on the Fourth of July. Almost whimsical, they add a spirit of excitement to a collection that is, as usual, heavy with its dark palette.
More subtle references are in things like the belt buckles, every bit as large as Western style buckles found in Southwestern states, but more minimal, sleek, and refined in silver, adding to the overall trim look of the ensemble rather than distracting from it. There is also a silver pin used to clasp the top of some garments that is so very trim, but Vaccarello says represent the bolo ties h saw in Texas and Arizona. If it is possible to add some refinement and class to American brashness, perhaps Vaccarello has found the secret to doing so.
There is no question that this collection is 100% Anthony Vaccarello, but as Americans it is interesting to see ourselves through the eyes of this Parisian designer. Whether we are a good influence is something I will leave to your own opinion.