Men’s – Malibu. Saint Laurent SS20

Like other fashion shows presented in far flung destinations this month, Saint Laurent‘s spring-summer 2020 collection for the boys (and resort 2020 for the girls) had its ups and downs. Ups: the runway’s spectacular venue, which was an ebonized boardwalk runway atop a Malibu beach, against a stormy horizon. Keanu Reeves sat front row. Anthony Vaccarello‘s ideology behind the collection, which well related to Yves Saint Laurent. The starting point for the collection was Marrakech in the ’70s (Yves’ ultimate favourite place to visit) reimagined as 21st-century Los Angeles, a city that resides on Vaccarello’s own emotional landscape. While that’s some geographical leap, it’s not an unimaginable one; both locations have that certain bohemian, free-spirited, almost mystical escape. “You come to L.A. for vacation,” Vaccarello said. “You can disconnect from the rest of the world.” And finally, Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones musician gave Vaccarello access to his vintage Saint Laurent, for inspiration. Yes, it all sounds dreamy. But again, the problem of clothes hits – they seem to lose their priority in such events. Except for the abrupt comeback of super-wide, super-fluid pants (in gauzy knit or a crushed pleated silk), billowing and flowing from a high and often belted waist, there was barely anything exciting about this rock & roll-ish wardrobe. It all was a remake of Hedi Slimane-era YSL. And I guess you really need that Malibu heat to grasp the essence of this collection, and not only the imagery.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

I’ve Seen You Before. Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2019

Looking at Anthony Vaccarello‘s Saint Laurent through a prism of his delightful campaigns (Juergen Teller’s spring-summer ad shot around Como and the recent Keanu Reeves spread are highlights), his girls gang (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anja Rubik, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Moss, Mica Arganaraz, need more?) and art projects (production of Gaspar Noé’s latest film that premiered in Cannes, Lux Aeterna, starring Gainsbourg, Beatrice Dalle and Vaccarello’s model muses) and spectacular fashion show venues, you really feel like his work is… major. And, it does sell very well. But since Hedi Slimane is back in fashion with his Celine, you just can’t help but think: I’ve seen that face before. And while the new Celine aggressively hits the stores, and most of the clothes look identical to Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent (crucial note: YSL was actually defibrillated by Slimane some years ago with his slim look aesthetic, new branding and white marble floors), there’s a tension growing on. Do we really need two brands doing the same mini-dresses, boyish tuxedos and traumatically size 0 apparel? Moreover, both designers reintepret their maisons codes for the contemporary times: Anthony keeps on squeezing out Yves’ legendary Le Scandale collection, while Hedi goes for bringing back the old, very old bourgeois style of pre-pre-pre-Phoebe-Philo-era Celine. But somehow, the results are too similar. One thing’s sure: Hedi was first in the game. Still, fashion forgets quickly. Time will show who wins. Or maybe there will be enough customers to push both brands’ turnovers?

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.