All About Anthony Vaccarello

Who is Anthony Vaccarello?

Who is Anthony Vaccarello

Anthony Vaccarello Biography

Anthony Vaccarello was born in Brussels is 1982. The designer, whose parents are Sicilian, studied art and design at the city’s famous La Cambre university; the school’s alumni also counts Cédric Charlier, Olivier Theyskens and Cathy Pill. After university, he went on to win France’s prestigious Hyères prize with a collection inspired by politician and ex-pornstar La Cicciolina.

Looks from Vacarello's Fall 2011 own label show held in the Marais in Paris

A then still relatively unknown Vaccarello subsequently worked under Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi (designing furs) and continued this upward trajectory by setting up his own label in 2011. His designs, and especially his dresses, were noted for their sexy cuts and sculpting silhouettes, so it’s no wonder that Donatella Versace came calling. The Italian doyenne of high glam fashion appointed Vaccarello Creative Director of her men’s and women’s sub-label, Versus in 2014. Just under two years later, the young Belgian was plucked by Saint Laurent to replace Hedi Slimane as creative director in one of the most anticipated ‘take-overs’ in recent fashion history. He officially accepted this haloed position April 1016 and presented his very first women’s wear show in September 2016 for SS16. In August 2016, the young designer also announced that he would pause his own eponymous label in order to concentrate on Yves Saint Laurent. The last collection for Anthony Vaccarello was AW16/17.

Who is Anthony Vaccarello
Eva Herzigová in Saint Laurent AW17 at Cannes

Anthony Vaccarello career highlights

Winner of the 2011 ANDAM Prize 

Vaccarello won France’s prestigious design prize in 2011, which was presented to him by the country’s minister of culture Frédéric Mitterrand and Pierre Bergé, president of ANDAM and Yves Saint Laurent’s longtime partner in business and life. The prize consisted of €200,000 which helped Vaccarello to bolster his own fledgling label.

Anthony Vaccarello debut for Versus

Vaccarello’s debut show for Versus women’s wear in September 2014 demonstrated his love of high glamour and body conscious silhouettes. He took a 90s Versace look and modernised the out-there brashness thanks to a more energised and youthful aesthetic with a collection that championed sculpted mini dresses and sexy wearable separates. In an interview for Numero magazine in 2014, Vaccarello stated, “Donatella and I are both speaking to self-assured, sensual women.”

Anthony Vaccarello Lancome collaboration

Vaccarello debuted a collaborative make-up range with Lancôme at his SS16 show at Paris Fashion Week. The launch product was the Hypnose Palette which were launched in three different shades called Golden Black, Blue Mania and Green Fever. The French beauty label also sponsored the starry-eyed make-up at the designer’s autumn/winter 2015 show.

Anthony Vaccarello Own label campaign shot by Ines & Vinoodh 

The Anthony Vaccarello SS16 campaign was shot by fellow Hyères  prize winners Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and starred Danish model  Freja Beha Erichsen. The pictures which featured bold typography set against an image of the model growling (no really) as she crossed a street in Manhattan were to influence his later Saint Laurent campaign.

Madonna in Saint Laurent for Italian Vogue 

Who is Anthony Vaccarello

 

Madonna has had more comebacks than any living artist and yet her cover for Italian Vogue shot by Steven Klein was a milestone of sorts. Wearing Saint Laurent, Madonna graced the first issue of the magazine since the passing of its late great editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. It was a controversial choice to say the least for Sozzani faithfuls.

 

Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent

A bold 80s inflected look from AW17/18 Saint Laurent

Just three days after the departure of Hedi Slimane, executives at Saint Laurent announced Vaccarello as the brand’s new head honcho. Slimane was noted for his rock&roll/grunge style, his admiration of underground and iconic music personalities, and his love of the LA lifestyle – in fact, the Saint Laurent Fall 2016 women’s collection was presented at the Los Angeles Hollywood Palladium. Slimane is credited with tripling the size of Saint Laurent in the four years he was creative director. The appointment of Vaccarello – noted for his slick, sexy and body sculpting aesthetic – therefore came as a surprise to many people in the industry. Vaccarello’s first show (SS17) for Yves Saint Laurent featured a giant neon YSL sign which greeted visitors as they entered the building – a prelude to his 80s influenced collection which aimed to champion a cool vintage aesthetic brought into the present. Vaccarello has stated that his aim is to reimagine the essence of the brand, to take its rich heritage and to reinterpret it for the millennial customer, making it fresh and dynamic. “I love Monsieur Saint Laurent’s subversive approach to clothes, his dark romanticism with a hint of perversity,” read the show notes for his AW17/18 collection. “I wanted this collection to be like a re-reading, a radical fantasy of this heritage.”

The Saint Laurent Collier Schorr campaigns

Who is Anthony Vaccarello

Who is Antony Vaccarello
Collier Schorr campaign for Spring 2017 Saint Laurent womenswear

Vaccarello chose the American photographer Collier Schorr (see Acne campaign) to shoot his debut campaign for Saint Laurent which was released in May/June 2016 ahead of his first catwalk for the French maison. The black and white images featured 15 (undressed) models and focused on portraits. The Saint Laurent branding was stamped over the images in bold typeface. The message was one of simple sexiness and raw emotion – no gimmicks or high jinx. The SS17 campaign for womenswear – also shot by Collier Schorr – showed models Yasmin Wijnaldum, Freja Beha Erischen, Binx Walton and Lexi Boling in his debut collection in a series of high glamour black and white images. Later the house also revealed its first menswear campaign by the same photographer featuring actor Lukas Ionesco in leather and PVC trousers. It is joked that Vaccarello is bringing ‘sexy back’ to YSL.

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Vaccarello and Menswear for Saint Laurent

Who is Anthony Vaccarello
The Spring 2017 menswear campaign shot by Collier Schorr

He chose to show his debut menswear alongside women’s wear at Paris Fashion Week for Fall 2017 Hedi Slimane is a tough act to follow and Vaccarello’s men’s designs have been under more scrutiny than his women’s wear given the fact that he is filling the boots of one of menswear’s greatest minds. His AW17/18 women’s wear collection was peppered with 14 menswear looks which showcased his new directive for the male customer: pieces were looser (skinny trousers were ruled out in favour of low-rise pleated trousers), mainly black and uncomplicated with an emphasis on classic – albeit still sexy – style with lots of his luxe outerwear.

Antony Vaccarello influences

Vaccarello speaks fondly of his time at Versus which helped him shape a strong feminized aesthetic noted for its sharp tailoring and curve defining contours. Speaking to Interview Magazine in 2015 he said, “When you enter that house, you are submerged in the code they create. You cannot not be inspired by it.” At Saint Laurent he is driven by the soul of the founder himself: “Yves Saint Laurent liked having that sheer T-shirt or dress, but it wasn’t sexual or seductive—for me she’s the equal of the man. Nudity is not a shame. What he did was really, really sexy. It looks like nothing before. We really explored that woman: she’s proud of her body, she’s not hiding under tonnes of fabric.”

What makes Anthony Vaccarello tick?

He’s all about strong women but also very youth driven as a fashion designer. He controversially had the Saint Laurent Instagram feed completely deleted when he was appointed creative director which angered many Slimane fans. Just one picture was posted, of Vaccarello himself shown in a pensive pose. But as we have seen in his shows, Vaccarello is all about new beginings and taking a brand back to its source.

“I think it’s not about changing identity,” the designer told the New York Times in February 2017. “It’s about making it for now.”

Following his appointment at Yves Saint Laurent, Francesca Bellettini, President and CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, declared: “I am extremely happy to have Anthony Vaccarello take the creative helm of Yves Saint Laurent. His modern, pure aesthetic is the perfect fit for the maison. Anthony Vaccarello impeccably balances elements of provocative femininity and sharp masculinity in his silhouettes. He is the natural choice to express the essence of Yves Saint Laurent. I am enthusiastic about embarking on a new era with Anthony Vaccarello, and together bringing the maison further success.”

Five reasons we love Antony Vaccarello

1. He has never made a dig about his predecessor Hedi Slimane – lover of ’90s subculture and grunge

Vaccarello has however subtly pointed out how their visions differ:

“YSL is also couture, it’s also ateliers, it’s French. It’s a luxury to have all these people working with me, it’s important to see that Saint Laurent can be high level, even with the most street things,” he told American Vogue in September 2016

2. He describes Donatella Versace as a goddess

Their first meeting was instant chemistry:  “I’ve always admired her vision—she has inspired even the most conceptual designers. My heart beat so fast when I walked through the door, but then it was like talking to an old friend,” he told Harpers Bazaar in 2014

3. He’s someone with a keen business eye

“I find it so much more interesting to be involved on every level, rather than just to do image now. These days we want someone whose strong in image, marketing and commercially strong,” the designer told Paris Mode in early 2016.

4. He’s timid but straight forward when it comes to giving statements about collections

“Women should be real but always beautiful”, he told French Vogue in 2015 after his own label show

5. He’s not in a hurry

As proven by his modest menswear output and minimalist looking first campaign, Vaccarello is changing the shape of Saint Laurent at his own steady pace. “It’s a work in progress”, he said of his first Saint Laurent collection for Spring SS16.