For Winter 2023, Anthony Vaccarello paid tribute to the house’s historical haute couture venue, imbuing its classics with a modern edge

The Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel is indispensable to Saint Laurent’s history: the venue where, between 1975 and 2001, the French house showed all of its haute couture collections, under bronze chandeliers and clambering floral arrangements. For Winter 2023, more than two decades after the fact, Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello paid tribute to that era, erecting a tented structure off Paris’s Trocadéro where seasoned showgoers would be transported to the past.

Beyond the set’s familiar furnishings (down to the distinctive pattern of its carpeted runway), the collection harkened back to tried-and-true signatures—underscoring that sense of nostalgia, or maybe déjà vu. “Vaccarello distilled the essence of classic Saint Laurent style,” read the press release, “and combined it with his own codes for a severely reconfigured take, reflective of the current moment.”

That “essence” boils down to a few key pieces: square-cut leather bombers and blazers, thrown over tank tops or high-neck silk blouses; tailleur-jupes with stockings or slim cashmere pants, offsetting the breadth of the shoulders. The modern edge was subtle, but deliberate—tweaks in hemlines, sharper lines for the outerwear, jewelry swapped for shawls. Precision, emotion, and reticence—the three words definitive of the Saint Laurent spirit—were certainly honored at Tuesday’s show. It was free from gimmicks, laser-focused on craft, and thus shockingly original in its own right.