Anthony Vaccarello Revisits Yves's NYC for Saint Laurent

Anthony Vaccarello Revisits Yves's NYC for Saint Laurent

For SS19, Saint Laurent relived Yves’s NYC. Bob Colacello was there the first time around.

For SS19, Saint Laurent relived Yves’s NYC. Bob Colacello was there the first time around.

Text: Bob Colacello

Last June, Anthony Vaccarello’s first menswear showing at Saint Laurent redefined the term “destination.” From the moonlit ferry ride to a spangly waterfront catwalk, to the finale’s Studio 54–like cavalcade of club-ready models, the show transported guests to a New York of another time. It was this New York that Yves Saint Laurent once lit up with his own destination showcase: his Opium fragrance’s U.S.  launch in 1978, which brought his “dream of the Orient” to life for 800 of NYC’s brightest stars, from Cher to Warhol to Factory scribe Bob Colacello aboard a docked junk-ship. 

The designer tended to prefer his imagination to real-life travel, making visits to New York scarce. But what unfolded at his Opium afterparty at Studio 54, as told by Colacello, can only be described as a New York minute—from the star-studded spontaneity to the cosmically SS19-esque wardrobe. Samuel Anderson

BOB COLACELLO A visit from Yves to New York was a big deal; he made very few appearances. I don’t think he really liked to travel, except to Morocco. His entourage, led by Pierre Bergé, was very protective. Marina Schiano, one of his muses, ran the American business. When he would come, she’d excitedly say, “Yves is coming, Yves is coming,” as he did to promote Opium. 

At Studio 54 there was a sort of secret door that led to the basement, which was like the VIP lounge, except it was only a series of storage rooms with cement floors and a couple folding chairs. You could hear people stomping above your head. But there was a security guard who knew who to send down. 

At some point that evening, I was in the basement with Truman Capote and a young English boy named Hugo Guinness—of the banking family, not the beer. Also in the room was Halston, who always wore a black cashmere turtleneck and black aberdeen trousers. Everything was black. Sometimes he’d have a very long cashmere scarf sort of falling down over the turtleneck. 

Suddenly Yves appeared with Marina Schiano. He was wearing a cream-colored Yves Saint Laurent suit, with a striped shirt and pants that were sort of bell-bottomed.  At the time Saint Laurent was the biggest in Europe and Halston was the biggest in America. It wasn’t just any American and any French designer. Yves was a huge star; he caught the spirit of the times. He was just the number one designer [but] so was Halston. It was like the King of France and the King of England meeting in Normandy. 

Halston jumped up and moved towards Yves, and Yves moved towards Halston, and the two of them embraced. They talked a little: “Darling…mon cherie.” But it was more a flurry of kisses and hugs. Truman says to Hugo, as if he was talking to a pupil, “You have just witnessed one of the great moments in the history of fashion.” Then he paused and said, “That is, if you care about the history of fashion.” Then Marina whisked Yves off, and got him the hell out of the basement.  

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