On Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s runway, heat and sex are regular ingredients. For the young French pioneer of sex positivity in fashion, his steamy return to what the industry is calling “physical” shows was pulsating with a whole other layer of significance. “I feel like we were in such a digital world for like a year-and-a-half that it was really critical for me to reconnect with physicality and sensuality, in a way that you could almost grab it,” said De Saint Sernin behind his co-ed spring-summer 2022 fashion show titled “Désir“. He wove all of that pent-up tension into a collection that stretched tiny strands of leather into minuscule dresses and taut bodices equally across genders to eye-popping effect. “We wanted to showcase the artisanal feel of the collection,” he explained. “All these pieces are entirely braided, knotted, and laced by hand. There’s no sewing at all. It’s really body formatted.” De Saint Sernin has been well ahead of the generational game of blurring underwear with outerwear. His easy, elasticated-waist, pajama-like pants and shirts and leather bralettes are part of this. This season it also meant a semi-sheer smocking technique, used in dresses and shirts cut to cling and strain at buttons, and delicate, semi-transparent fabrics, like laddered knits. “Mermaid, California-gothic girlfriend” is how he described the inspiration for overtly glam transparencies in crystal-beaded fishnet: a one-shoulder dress, a couple of miniature sparkly sarongs. His two finale dresses hinted at either having been shipwrecked or wrecked from a long night of partying. De Saint Sernin has a burgeoning business in his flared jeans with eyelet-laced flies, shown again this season with split hems. The signature eyelet was also an unmissable feature on a black thong. It was, he remarked with a straight face, “just a little teaser,” because Pornhub sponsored his show, and he has a collaboration with the porn site coming next spring. Of course this makes complete sense. There’s just one thing the designer might consider for the future: inviting a wider range of body shapes to his model casting. Everybody want to look and feel sexy, right?
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.