Anthony Vaccarello F/W 2016
Anthony Vaccarello F/W 2016

Talking with people in Paris today has had a sense of the surreal. The fashion community here tends to avoid external political matters to the degree it can, but today everyone was going out of their way to make sure topics that might be sensitive to one community or another weren’t even brought up. Parisians are trying very hard to continue on as though everything here is just fine, thank you. Smiles are there, but every time a Vespa makes a strange noise or someone yells, people jump. Security at fashion events has always been tight, but today it is doubled, even at the smaller shows. This isn’t a calm and relaxed Paris at the start of this fashion week.

The day started with shows from lesser known designers and by the time we got down to Anthony Vaccarello this evening there was a hint of a party atmosphere as the rains let up for a while and fog rolled across cobblestone streets making everything picturesque. Guests were chatty and ready for a show that is historically very sensual and full of skin-tight leather. Vaccarello didn’t disappoint.

He calls this collection “Sex and Le Smoking,” and one can certainly understand why. The first piece is a black jacket open all the way to the waist where it is fastened with corset lacing over skin-tight pants. Pay attention to the lacing, as that is the primary cohesive element throughout the collection. Vaccarello uses  it everywhere, and there are times when it actually gets a tad creative, such as the side stitching of a sheer black mesh dress. Sometimes the element was hidden, as with the attachment of a fur hood to a coat, but it was there in almost every piece. The inference seems especially appropriate for Parisian couture and guests seemed quite pleased with how it was used.

Pieces that stood out include an all-leather hoodie, which I’m guessing weighs about half as much as the model; black mesh dresses, a couple of which are uniquely fastened with a peplum ruffle and metal fasteners, as though there might be a circumstance in which one would want to remove half the dress, and a black leather jacket with tails. Vaccarello uses those metal fasteners more than a few times, even with sheer pieces, and doing so creates unique asymmetrical silhouettes that are attractive and a bit dangerous at the same time. But then, the Vaccarello woman lives on that edge anyway, so I’m sure this is a touch she loves.

The big surprise was that there was actually a floral pattern in this mostly shades-of-black collection. They appeared first stitched into a sweater, which was an unexpected touch of softness, and then later sequined onto leather jackets. We’re not accustomed to seeing such things in a Vaccarello line and judging by the gasps and awe it might be something he wants to consider bringing back.

Still, one the whole, this collection is very much a variation of the sexy, well-tailored Vaccarello theme. He knows his audience well and plays to them quite faithfully. There is just enough newness to keep the looks fresh, but nothing that takes any serious risks. Such is how all of Paris Fashion Week is likely to be. Everyone is very careful about which risks they take.

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