The Seduction of Saint Laurent

Why Antony Vaccarello is pitch perfect when it comes to after dark (and maybe to dawn) dressing

“This is the House of the Tuxedo,” comments Saint Laurent’s creative director, Anthony Vaccarello in reference to AW22’s luminescent show staged in the halo of lights at the Tour Eiffel (before the energy sobriety rules kicked in). Inspired by the iconic ‘Le Smoking’ suit introduced by Yves Saint Laurent in his 1966 haute couture collection, Vaccerello is proving himself an expert at re-interpreting sartorial smarts for our turbulent times.

Le Smoking has its own rich legacy of cultural moment making. When socialite Nan Kempner was infamously turned away from Le Côte Basque in NYC for wearing a suit as opposed to a ladylike dress, she slipped off the trousers and wore the tux as a mini dress, which turned every head in the zipcode. Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minelli, Betty Catroux, Bianca Jagger are also all up there in the Mount Rushmore of Le Smoking muses. Today, variations are now called the Tuxedo eschewing the cigarette link and frankly, le Vaping was never going to make the cut. Styles range from grain de poudre sb and db suits with satin peak lapels and long, lean tuxedo dresses. 

Sabrina Elba Wearing Saint Laurent Long V-Neck Dress in Crepe

@sabrinaelba // Instagram

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Vaccarello, who joined the house in 2016, is a master at recalibrating the house codes focussing on a real wardrobe that can be worn now and way down the personal style road. “That realness is fascinating to work with. I like that a woman can pick something up from three seasons ago and not feel out of style,” he has said. The Belgium born designer who etched out his trademark in his eponymous collection fuses practicality with a seductive ‘fire’ that gives a new chapter to the scandalous sexuality that Yves Saint Laurent unleashed on the 1970s style world.

Model Wearing 'Le Smoking' Jacket

Saint Laurent

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Hailey Bieber in YSL Crocodile-Embossed Short Trench Coat

@haileybieber // Instagram

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“That realness is fascinating to work with. I like that a woman can pick something up from three seasons ago and not feel out of style.”

Anthony Vaccerello

And while it's hard to be outrageous in 2022, Vaccarello’s graphic purity, his way with bias cuts, fake fur, sequins and those all important necklines delivers plenty of smoldering allure. Check the tulle fishtail floor length skirts (topped with broad shouldered overcoats); asymmetric sheer and matt column dresses for size and add a crushed velvet rose corsage and monogramme clutch for pitch perfect party dressing. The tuxedo is all the house’s CEO Francesca Bellettini wears on an evening out, with a fine-tuned stiletto and an armful of Nancy Cunard-esque cuffs: classy points guaranteed.

Vaccarello directs the Saint Laurent universe from a 140,000 sq. ft. former abbey in Paris with Jean Prouve furniture in the mix and Franz West oils on the wall and plenty of parquet for Vaccarello’s and Bellettini’s french bulldogs to scamper around. Yves would approve of the cinematic vision that speaks of love and life. 

YSL Animal-Free Fur Coat

Saint Laurent

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