A Crepuscular Spell of Style: Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2023

A Crepuscular Spell of Style: Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2023

A Crepuscular Spell of Style: Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2023

Redolent of the spell cast by night, Vaccarello's menswear collection extends its vision through a lavish world of subversive darkness and exacted elegance

Redolent of the spell cast by night, Vaccarello's menswear collection extends its vision through a lavish world of subversive darkness and exacted elegance

Text: John Kopp

Concrete walls curve around a massive expanse as a sonorous symphony reverberates throughout vaulted ceilings. With a haunting magnetism, models begin pacing the runway: their hands nonchalantly in their pockets as their gaze remains fixed. A display of such luscious darkness indicates Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 2023 menswear collection has made its much-anticipated return to Paris Fashion Week.

This season preserves Anthony Vaccarello’s affinity for the spherical runway as the luxury giant debuts its collection in the rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection. Engaging in a séance of sartorial proportions, he repurposes Yves Saint Laurent’s already recontextualized womenswear—this time through the lens of menswear.

Following the insatiable pursuit of crafted perfection woven into the Saint Laurent fabric, Anthony Vaccarello exhibits a collection meticulously driven by details. Retrospective yet progressive, their sum totals a sensation of contemporaneous glamour through the male gaze.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

The Spring/Summer 2023 season found Saint Laurent producing an intimate spectacle of sober sophistication in the Agafay desert. Unraveling through its house codes, Vaccarello delivered an intimate collection emblematic of Yves Saint Laurent’s love affair with Marrakech. Alloying Morocco’s enduring influence on the brand with Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky, the Maison crafted a narrative of serenity and solace.

A sense of continuity is seamlessly melded from last season’s graphic silhouettes; floor-length coats convey a decadent elegy to the warmth of summer as the icy elements dictate a new mode. Vaccarello’s background in sculptural studies asserts him as the pioneer of the new male form as he chisels away at conventions.

Bold shoulders frame models with a rigid assertiveness concerning this season’s outerwear. A narrow waist is revealed as the eye is navigated downward, creating a striking rendition of what stylish masculinity looks like today. A glossy patent leather trench coat becomes varnished with a delectable darkness as it glistens like wet paint in the light.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

A play on gender through proportion and silhouette is a concept perennially reborn in the oeuvre of Saint Laurent. Vaccarello’s nod to this household tradition hints at the collection’s central theme as the first look takes form in a silk shirt pronounced with an enlarged asymmetrical bow.

Rigid edges are scaled back with feminine accents such as draped silks and lengthened pleated trousers that slightly fan out as they dawn the ground. Building on the lofty figures Vaccarello frequents, high-waisted pants are resuscitated and repurposed. Sculpting a refined form into the collection through this alternation of gender polarities, the brand’s unwavering focus on every element is evident.

Lacing its new garments with a dazzling feminine touch, he and his team conjure a striking balance of dissonant elements. A knitted white turtleneck reminiscent of an obelisk extends past the knees for a look as mysterious as it is vulnerable. Harnessing this newfound masculinity through soft textures further exemplifies the brand’s congruence with androgyny’s role in its heritage.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Mystery and anonymity take center stage as recurring motifs of the season. Hooded silhouettes and soaring high necks in outerwear and knitwear epitomize Saint Laurent’s affair with the allure of the unknown. Incorporating a sense of ambiguity in its garments, the brand creates a charm urging those surrounding its wearers to know more.

The relationship between tension and ease, too, is investigated. Piercing edges are contrasted against soft curves materializing an opposition for power between taught and fluid forms. Even in the languorous waves of chiffon shirts and sweatpants-inspired trousers, every seam is precisely orchestrated to produce a mirage of effortless style.

Saint Laurent captivates viewers of its show with its sultry, restrained tones paying homage to its prevailing obsession with rich colors. White, camel, navy, black, and glimmers of silver appear in provocative compositions. Lush velvets, supple leathers, mohair, cashmere, and satin polarize soft and rigid textures, establishing a new order of opulence.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Sheltered by voluminous pants, patent leather heeled boots are the highlight of its footwear this season. Further extending the illusion of height, the heeled boots compliment the collection’s high-waisted pants establishing a lanky figure imbuing power in its wearers. Notable accessories include rectangular and ovular sunglasses in Havana and black, and metallic cuffs.

Redolent of the spell cast by night, Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 2023 menswear collection extends its vision through a lavish world of subversive darkness and exacted elegance. Transcending past gender conventions, Vaccarello has created a visceral experience establishing fashion as a universal feeling.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

With an impeccable eye for design, he remains one of the true trailblazers of today’s figures spearheading the fashion world. Nuanced and fastidiously intentional, he is concerned with the pursuit of perfection in his designs, emulating the illustrious brand’s founder.

“I am no longer concerned with sensation and innovation but with the perfection of my style,” declared the late Yves Saint Laurent. He approached fashion as a painter would his canvas creating eternal works of grandeur as opposed to passing fads. Tearing away at the status quo, the original mastermind behind the brand was a pioneer of fashion lightyears ahead of his time. It seems the same blood courses the veins of the Maison today with Vaccarello’s adventurous spirit.

Watch the full-length show, below:

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