If there’s one thing Anthony Vaccarello is going to do, it’s put on a simply sublime show. The Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2023 women’s ready-to-wear collection was presented directly against the backdrop of the glittering Eiffel Tower, as it usually is season-after-season, on Feb. 28 in front of a star-studded cast that included celebrities and house muses Dua Lipa, Blackpink’s Rosé, and Natalie Dyer. Models emerged on a plush yellow gold carpet on a raised podium runway flanked by five chandeliers that set the scene for the true VIPs of the evening: the clothing.
Drawing inspiration from the eighties, the collection gave very much Working Girls, the 1988 rom-com starring Melanie Griffith as Tess, a Staten Island secretary who navigates the workplace setting while sporting chic skirt suits—with big shoulder pads, of course— paired with chunky sneakers and sleek briefcases. While the 1980s boardroom attire was chic and stylish for its time, Saint Laurent’s new collection offered plenty of options for a modern and sexy take on 9-5 dressing that would make HR executives squirm.
Vaccarello’s “working girl” wears boxy blazers in pinstripe, velvet, or tweed and a matching pencil skirts that fall just above the knee paired with plunging tank tops and a thin belt, leather bomber jackets with va-va-voom shoulders, and flouncy pussybow blouses. She signs major contracts and closes deals wearing sheer dresses, capes pinned with gold brooches, and impeccably tailored power suits accessorized with patent slingbacks, aviator shades, hoop earrings, and leather gloves.
The designer beautifully took traditionally masculine silhouettes and made them so elegant and timeless for a super chic collection that felt very close to the spirit of the Parisian maison. This was especially tangible in a draped and wrapped top paired with leggings that evoked a deconstructed le smoking. Meanwhile, motifs generally associated with masculine tailoring, such as pinstripes, tartans and glen plaids, feel extra feminine thanks to Vaccarello’s masterful manipulation of soft fabrics and ability to carefully cut in a contemporary way.
The sharp tailoring combined with ostensibly voluminous shoulders, slim fit trousers, and A-line skirts give us the kind of sexy power dressing we simply can’t get enough of. Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent would be proud.