So it’s official, Anthony Vaccarello really will be taking over at Saint Laurent having left his role as creative head of Versace’s Versus line.Saint Laurent owner Kering confirmed his appointment this afternoon.
“While I’m sad to see him leave the Versace family, I wish Anthony Vaccarello tremendous success with his next chapter,” Donatella Versace said.
She’s now got to search for a replacement but she’s pretty good at spotting talent, having named both JW Anderson’s Jonathan Anderson and Christopher Kane to the Versus job in recent years. In fact, Donatella seems to relish this incubator role, referring warmly to both Anderson and Kane in her statement talking about Vaccarello’s departure and pointing out how Versus played a key role in their respective progress to the fashion stratosphere.
But when it comes to going stratospheric, Vaccarello, has to take the title with Saint Laurent being one of the biggest prizes in fashion.
So who exactly is Anthony Vaccarello. He’s a 33-year-old Belgian-Italian with his own label and a year-long stint at Versus. He’s known for an in-your-face sexiness that has a strong 80s edge about it and relies on ultra-short skirts as well as details like asymmetric cuts and lacing (he LOVES) lacing.
It’s interesting that at Versus he’s worked with an instant fashion model, offering us see now, buy now collections, while Kering, Saint Laurent’s owner, seems to be on the side of the traditional seasonal model.
It’s also interesting that there’s an element of continuity with Vaccarello’s appointment. This is no John Galliano vs Raf Simons, Alexander Wang vs Demna Gvasalia or Frida Giannini vs Alessandro Michele redrawing of the brand style.
As I said in an earlier article, Saint Laurent’s recent couture collection could easily blend into Vaccarello’s offer and while Vaccarello is less grunge than Slimane, their shared love of youthful sexiness is likely to keep the current crop of new customers coming. In fact, Kering execs were at pains to point out the continuity of Vaccarello’s appointment, what a great fit he is and how he’ll be building on solid foundations.
The big questions
Which leaves us with three big questions. Number one is will the existence of the Vaccarello own-brand be a future problem as it has been for some other designer-conglomerate collaborations? Sources have said that he’s agreed to stop developing his own line as part of the deal, so hopefully not.
The second question is whether we’ll be stuck with calling the brand Saint Laurent (which is what Hedi Slimane decreed) when the YSL initials were so easy for journalists like me to write. Hopefully not. Kering called the brand Yves Saint Laurent when it announced Slimane’s departure last week and continued to do so in today’s appointment statement.
And finally, who will replace Vaccarello at Versus. Well, we don’t know that yet but Donatella is promising a big surprise.