The Enduring Appeal of a Saint Laurent Tuxedo Jacket

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05 Saint Laurent Tuxedo Sparkle
Tao is wearing a strass and sequin embroidered tuxedo jacket by Saint LaurentPhotography by Maxime Imbert, Styling by Rebecca Perlmutar

This much-desired tuxedo jacket by Anthony Vaccarello takes on Yves Saint Laurent’s definitive contribution to fashion, ‘Le Smoking’

When Yves Saint Laurent first showed ‘Le Smoking’ in 1966 – a black, satin-lapelled tuxedo, cut for the shape of a woman – his haute couture clients were nonplussed, and only a single one was sold. Saint Laurent nonetheless persevered: a version of the tuxedo jacket, shown later as part of the house’s younger Rive Gauche line, was an instant bestseller. “For a woman, the tuxedo is an indispensable garment in which she will always feel in style, for it is a stylish garment and a not a fashionable garment,” Saint Laurent would later say. He was correct: ‘Le Smoking’ has endured.

Anthony Vaccarello, the house’s current creative director, is an avid student of the Saint Laurent archive, finding inspiration in both the well- and less-known corners of the designer’s oeuvre – Vaccarello’s first collection began within an obsession with a singular obscure puffed-sleeve party dress from 1982, while others have referenced Saint Laurent’s epochal collections, like 1976’s ‘Ballet Russes’. On the runway, he re-presents them with new frisson and verve – hemlines are high, necklines low, silhouettes amplified.

For Autumn/Winter 2019, Vaccarello referenced two of Yves’ glamorous coterie of muses, Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux. The latter came with her own ice-haired doppelganger, Swedish model Vilma Sjöberg, who was the second exit in a black mini-dress, sunglasses and an ivory wool coat with exaggerated power-shoulders. This silhouette was the collection’s signature: “Everything starts from the shoulder,” Vaccarello said. Such was the case for this season’s take on ‘Le Smoking’, too – wide-lapelled, in black satin or white satin and invariably worn with nothing beneath, the shoulders were cut with wide, mannish proportions. “She is really strong, she’s fearless,” said Vaccarello.

Here, a black tuxedo jacket from the collection – in perhaps its most desirable iteration, entirely embellished with strass rhinestones and sequins – is captured by photographer Maxime Imbert and AnOther’s junior fashion editor, Rebecca Perlmutar

Hair: Kei Takano using Bumble and Bumble. Make-up: Fiona Gallagher. Model: Tao Quan at Wilhelmina. Casting: Julia Gilmour.