A year ago, Anthony Vaccarello took over the Manhattan harbor to show his first menswear collection for Saint Laurent, the New York skyline providing a dramatic, shimmering backdrop as he sent looks down a black marble runway that was as big as the USS Intrepid’s flight deck. For his second menswear show, Vaccarello went as far as he could in the opposite direction, location-wise as well as scale-wise, as he took over Paradise Cove, a small beach just north of Malibu. It was here, in front of an intimate crowd that included Keanu Reeves and LaKeith Stanfield, that he sent his new collection down a black boardwalk as a gray Pacific roared in the background.
Vacarello assumed the duties of the house only a few years ago, but he’s already put his own strong, sure hand on the collection, and this most recent outing showed why he’s the right man for the job. He’s not only smart enough to see that tailoring is, at last, returning to menswear, but he’s also savvy enough to know how to deliver it to a generation that might not understand there are many ways to define it.
And fortunately, his interpretation is pretty damn great. In this case, he delivered his vision by combining those Marrakech ’70s vibes that Saint Laurent himself loved so much with Mick Jagger’s glam gender-bending of 1975. Think of it as a perfect Malibu-Morocco mashup that brims with sex and assuredness. One can’t help but look at these clothes—tailored, but at the same time loose (or is it louche?)—and see that Vaccarello knows that the next move for a generation that’s grown up on streetwear is to make its way to these looks: lush pieces like the djellaba shirts and harem pants (what are they really, but the rock star’s sweatpants?), and also instant-classics like the perfect bomber and satin baseball jacket.
Or, there’s the ivory white suit that looks as good as the one Mick wore when he tied the knot with Bianca. As we said, it’s the kind of suit that will hit streetwear fans like a lighting bolt. But even though Vaccarello says Mick was the big influence here, he seems (perhaps unknowingly but inevitably) to have channelled that other force that is forever a part of Mick: Keef. Just when you think the glam might overtake the collection, he injects some of that same Keith Richards grit that tempered the ’70s Stones and kept their performances from devolving into camp. It’s this grit—the denim jacket, the tight black jeans, the boots—that serves as the ballsy riffs that kick this collection into a full-force hit.