Meet The Designer Who Could Replace Hedi Slimane At Saint Laurent

Anthony Vaccarello might take over at Saint Laurent. And he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

BY EVELYN WANG | Apr 4, 2016 | Fashion

Getty / Victor Virgile

Hedi Slimane, the man responsible for making Yves Saint Laurent cool again, abandoned fashion's Iron Throne. During his four-year tenure, Slimane bent the brand to his will, took the "Yves" out of YSL, and put it through more rock-inspired phases than a teenager whose trust fund ought to be confiscated: from Fall 2013's Yayoi Kusama-reared love children of Tilda Swinton and David Bowie to the season after's Hogwarts burnouts to the acid-dropping toreros of Spring 2015 and the Kurt Cobain-gets-necromanced-and-discovers-Tumblr finisher. Now, predictably, tongues everywhere are wagging furiously about his replacement.

​Saint Laurent S/S14
Photograph by Getty / Victor Virgile.

Saint Laurent F/W15
Photograph by Getty / Catwalking.  

The rumoured answer seems unlikely: a largely unknown 33-year-old Belgian dude who doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. His name is Anthony Vaccarello. Here are a few quick facts: Vaccarello studied sculpture at prestigious Brussells design school La Cambre, won first place at the Hyères Festival for a leather collection inspired by a porn star, and is the creative director of Versace's diffusion line, Versus.

His designs are also more envelope-pushing than Slimane's, which, for all the talk about his broody rock star persona and bad-boy sensibilities, weren't all that jaw-dropping. He toed the line between commercialism and creativity with garments that were essentially high-price-tag interpretations of a standard-issue-cool-guy (or girl) uniform. And his genderfuckery? Putting women's clothes in a menswear collection and slapping some lipstick on male models? Provocative, perhaps. But groundbreaking it was not.

Versus Versace S/S16
Photograph by Getty.

Versus Versace S/S16
Photograph by Getty.

Vaccarello isn't as polished or crowd-pleasing as Slimane. But perhaps that's the point: Slimane's designs were deemed perfectly safe to wear by semi-professional model types with disposable incomes; they likely wouldn't even consider Vaccarello. The Belgian designer's aesthetic is marked by a taste for asymmetry and a laissez-faire appropriation of downmarket BDSM—all filtered through a sort of '80s glam-rock lens. It's not intellectually challenging in the same manner as something like Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons, but it does demand a certain disregard for sideways glances and a healthy dose of self-confidence. It isn't easy.

Which may be just what Saint Laurent needs if it wants to stay relevant.

From: Esquire US.