Saint Laurent Men SS23
Laurelle Laryea looks back at Anthony Vaccarello's new collection for men
At a show set under the glistening Agafay desert sky, Anthony Vaccarello used the Moroccan oasis as his muse for the Saint Laurent Men’s SS23 collection. This followed in the footsteps of Yves Saint Laurent himself, who revered and was inspired by Morocco during his lifetime. For next summer, Vaccarello plays on this cultural heritage with variations on an iconic House code, the tuxedo. As such, the collection seeks to be a modern look at the House’s most formative elements.
The presentation, inspired by Paul Bowles’ 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky, juxtaposed hope and mystery as metaphors for life’s complexities. Yet, the clothes themselves were clean and uncomplicated. The mood invoked snapshots of an idyllic life in Marrakech’s hazy sunshine. The typically trim tuxedo was relaxed, gathered satin coats swathed the body, and high-waist, wide-legged pants elongated the silhouette. In other instances, strong-shouldered double-breasted jackets tapered toward the hips for stark, contemporary outlines. Faux fur jackets and coats in black and camel added slightly more atypical options for a show set in a desert.
If there was even a ghost of a line once delineating masculine and feminine styles and flourishes, Vaccarello looked to dissolve it even further. Imposing capes were paired with billowing satin and chiffon pussy bow blouses. Elsewhere, a cowl neck shirt is matched with mini shorts and a slim belt. Jackets are worn without shirts to expose the skin underneath. Fine ‘grain de poudre’ wool – a favourite of Yves Saint Laurent – also makes repeated appearances.
For the show itself, Vaccarello collaborated with London-based artist and stage designer Es Devlin to install a ring-shaped galactic oasis in the middle of the desert. The installation broke up the singed and brown barren landscape as though representing new thinking amidst the vast isolation of sameness. Similarly, the Saint Laurent collection reflected this familiar dynamic. There were no baggy linen shorts and non-descript docksiders for you here. Instead it was high-waisted crushed velvet trousers and satin trenches with oversized collars. For SS23, Vaccarello skilfully deployed deconstruction and fluidity within boxy and angular silhouettes. All of which means there is truly something here for everyone – not just the men.
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