Saint Laurent Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear: Meet Mrs. Cellophane

Given that Google searches for “sheer” spike nearly every time a major celebrity dons a see-through dress, it should come as no surprise that the “Transparencies” exhibition now on at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris is reporting record attendance.

Already, more than 14,000 visitors have streamed through since it opened Feb. 2, at capacity numbers nearly every day, underscoring vibrant interest in the legendary couturier’s groundbreaking work with sheer textiles — and in a trend that just won’t die.

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On Tuesday night, Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello built nearly his entire fall collection with flimsy silk hosiery fabrics, which he said was a nightmare for the atelier, given how easily they can snag and ladder.

“I wanted to do something very fragile,” he said backstage, fretting that his stocking dresses, blouses and pencil skirts might not even hold together for the figure-8 that models negotiated through the vast show space, the floor resembling wet asphalt and the walls ringed with green damask curtains.

Vaccarello has been influential in staging fashion shows with an unmissable, memorable silhouette and hence a fashion message as direct as a bullet. His spring collection was all cotton safari dresses, and he said this fall effort was a reaction to that.

He cited a wish to make clothes that disappear, or won’t survive more than a day of wearing, if that.

“Don’t ask me about how we might produce it,” he said. “I think my job is to propose something different that is not necessarily realistic or necessary.”

Vaccarello made a quizzical expression when one critic brought up “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the folktale by Hans Christian Andersen about the perils of nonexistent fabric.

But even if the Belgian Italian designer was not familiar with that literary work, he pulled off a similar sleight of hand by successfully transmitting the feeling of Saint Laurent via sultry naked dressing, while also exalting the founder’s legacy of transgression, liberation and female empowerment.

Sure, there were some handsome car coats with bloused backs, big feathery chubbies and some flaring rubber peacoats.

But Vaccarello gave most air time to those barely there stocking outfits, the fabric sometimes clinging, sometimes smocked, sometimes whorled. They came in powdery, makeup colors, and were set off by gleaming platforms or open-toe slingbacks in deep burgundy, or old Jaguar green.

Models’ heads were sheathed in stocking caps, and their wrists stacked with chunky transparent bangles.

Vaccarello said he had the idea for this sheer extravaganza before the YSL museum revealed the theme of its spring exhibition. “But I think it’s good there’s this link with the foundation also — to make people understand that here it’s also a house of transparency,” he said.

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Launch Gallery: Saint Laurent Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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