It’s been a year of disorientation for all of us. For creative director Anthony Vaccarello, this was a cue to march to the beat of Saint Laurent’s own drum by scrapping traditional fashion week schedules. The French powerhouse unveiled its spring/summer 2021 collection in a digital runway presentation last night, collaborating with Nathalie Canguilhem yet again to produce a haunting film experience.
Set in an unidentified desert, models traipsed down the vast dunes, entertaining our collective desire for escapism through the screen. “The desert, to me, symbolises that yearn for serenity, open space, a slower rhythm,” says Vaccarello. “The clothes are also softer, the spirit of the collection is more gentle, stripped back.” The show was a subtle nod to Yves Saint Laurent’s spiritual home of Marrakech—without the usual suspects of cacti and flora. Instead, this was Saint Laurent stripped bare.
“I wanted to focus on the essence of things,” he says. “I think it’s a sign of the times. But I didn’t want anything bleak or heavy.” His references to archival house codes still shone through. Note in particular his reinvention of Le Smoking and La Saharienne—the former styled with ribbed knit biker shorts and the latter with boudoir teddy shorts. The sharp bobs sported by the models? Yet another homage to the golden days of ’60s hairstyling maestro, Vidal Sassoon. For a collection that was born of slowness and focus, Vaccarello still somehow managed to breathe fire into the pieces—no doubt a climactic way to end (or begin) the year.