The haute couture collections, which take place twice a year, are associated with a myriad of words: sophisticated, elegant, opulent. “Sexy” isn’t necessarily one of them. This is what makes Alexandre Vauthier’s couture offering so consistently compelling. As a man who cut his teeth working for Jean Paul Gaultier and the late great Thierry Mugler, Vauthier has turned his namesake label into a go-to for women looking to marry Parisian refinement with unapologetic sex appeal. At Fall/Winter 2022-23, he nailed that brief once more.
“I wanted something stronger and sexier, because the last collection was a little bit romantic,” he told WWD backstage after the show. That strength came courtesy of strong ‘80s power shoulders (on sharply tailored evening jackets and chic velvet gowns), and exaggerated silhouettes (boxy trenches in black crocodile skin and wrap-around coat dresses with electric blue fur trim). The “sexy” was seen in delicately embellished dresses with sheer panels, racey body-hugging mini dresses, and draped gowns with Angelina Jolie-esque thigh-high splits. Wallflowers need not apply.
The collection had a decidedly ‘80s sensibility, calling to mind that era’s iconic erotic thrillers and fabulous red carpet fashion. Vauthier, who was born in the ‘70s and began studying fashion in the ‘90s, makes no secret of his love for that formative decade. “Sometimes people say to me, ‘You’re obsessed with the ’80s,’ and maybe, because this is my generation,” he explained. “But it’s not about an influence, it’s that you have all the right techniques to create your own voice and at the right moment, you have the right voice.”
There are many reasons why this modernised take on ‘80s dressing feels relevant—that era represented a period of economic prosperity that was accompanied by a garish “good time” sensibility that we are all trying to capture in our new life post-Covid. We are still edging quietly towards a world where there is a fabulous party to be attended every night, where electric blue cocktail dresses worn with towering heels are the accepted nightly uniform. When that day comes, Alexandre Vauthier will be waiting with open arms. Until then, let’s relish in the unabashed sensuality of his designs.