Saint Laurent Summer 2021: Strictly tailoring escapism in the Sahara
The house of Saint Laurent returned to Morocco, the home away from home and frequent source of inspiration of its founder Yves, and the setting for a stylish and succinct collection by its current creative director Anthony Vaccarello.
The designer unveiled his latest ideas Tuesday afternoon in a video entitled I Wish You Were Here, filmed amid the undulating ridges in the Sahara desert with tremendous élan.
Drone shots set the scene with the house’s legendary YSL logo beautifully carved 10 meters long into a Saharan hillside. The youthful cast almost miraculously marching along a sand runway sculpted on a curving ridge – in boots and high heels from early morning until twilight. His opening look: cropped hair in peroxide blonde with the strictest of belted military jackets, its collar finished with a pink metal cactus flower, worn over rider shorts walking moodily over the sand dunes.
Sheer tops and lots of chiffon tunics finished with caribou feathers; worn on a cast many of whom sported hair all shorn away at the side. The sky varying from pale cyan blue to a mottled azure in the background, as a red-haired Nicole Kidman lookalike marched sultrily in a sleeveless jumpsuit. A pencil-thin silhouette throughout.
Mica Argañaraz at her moodiest best in a black belted jumpsuit with large white collar blouse; followed by some great mini tuxes and mess jackets; one gal in just a mannish wool waistcoat and pants.
Everything smartly accessorized by some striking body art – cactus flowers, oversized insects, chunky crystal pendants - by Claude Lalanne, the remarkable jeweler who passed away in April 2019. A close friend of Yves, for whom she created a sculptural bar in his Paris apartment, she went on to write a famous page in fashion history - the stunning bronze bust modelled in 1969 by uber-beauty Veruschka.
Practically all the looks in mono-color except for floral pants, earrings and a superb caftan worn on a black model, recalling the great black models of Yves, like Katoucha Niane and Mounia. A reminder that long before inclusion was buzz word in fashion, Yves and the house of Saint Laurent were championing diversity by having the most multiracial casting of models of any catwalk.
“I wanted to focus on the essence of things. I think it’s a sign of the times. But I didn’t want anything bleak or heavy. The desert, to me, symbolizes that yearn for serenity, open space, a slower rhythm. The clothes are also softer, the spirit of the collection is more gentle (sic), stripped back,” explained Vaccarello in cryptic program note.
The house of Saint Laurent skipped the last Paris runway season in September, announcing that it will in future show in varied and different cities. Since then, its one collection display was a high-energy video that went online before the Paris shows of menswear shot on young guys dashing around famous global locations from Montmartre to the Great Wall of China. Like today’s video, the menswear video was shot by Nathalie Canguilhem and electro DJ Sebastian.
Synth-pop background music again courtesy of Sebastian in the Sahara as the female cast appeared magically out of the vast expanse in pony skin coats; four-pocket jackets; short leather cocktails with chauffeur’s tunic tops; and tights topped by lacey underwear and sheer shirts.
For his finale, Vaccarello set his runway on fire, the flames illuminating the cast as they strode off into the desert night. Almost following the spirt of Yves, off to his final resting place in the Majorelle Gardens of Marrakech, where his ashes were scattered amid the palms and giant cacti of his walled oasis.
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