MOROCCO: Against the backdrop of the Agafay Desert, Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello seemed to summon the very spirit of Yves himself with a sumptuous Spring Summer 2023 collection that made the stunning landscape almost pallid in comparison.
The defining silhouette of Saint Laurent has always been the tuxedo, and for SS23 Vaccarello re-centered it in a way that promotes a new mode of thinking about the traditional black tie affair. One that is more relaxed yet entirely elegant with its blend of softer lines and structured detail.
The past handful of years have seen a question mark begin to hover over the formality of suiting and designers have been delivering interpretations to varying degrees of success. For his part, Vaccarrello perhaps had both the toughest and easiest time of it. Tough, because the suit plays such a central role to the Saint Laurent DNA. Easiest because the maison has continually broken down and redefined how the architecture of the tuxedo should look and move, according to the times.
While others were determined to casualise the essence of the suit, for Spring Summer ’23 Vaccarello sought to highlight the tuxedo’s inherent sensuality. High-waisted pants delivered an elongated, less formal finish to the most formal of suit styles, while shirting veered between the taught and the sheer, yet another iconic code of the Saint Laurent house that first appeared in 1966 and the controversial see-through cigaline on a female model.
Perhaps the latter was the most important element of the show. Twisting the borders between masculine and feminine has been a continual theme for Saint Laurent, especially in their womenswear world. Vaccarello has brought this philosophy over to the menswear offering, and it’s all the more richer for it. Inspired by Saint Laurent muse Betty Catroux, models were styled in such a way that bare chests slashed through the fluid lines of jackets or peeked out from under exaggerated bows attached to shirting. Shoulders were sharp, and Vaccarello’s familiar rock chic was tastefully tempered throughout a wardrobe that was more suited to the comforts of a silk chaise eating figs than previous underground club collections.
While Vaccarello has described this as being the most personal collection that he has delivered for Saint Laurent since taking the helm, it is hard not to also feel that this is the most “Yves” that Saint Laurent has been for some time.