Only a few weeks after the end of the Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, Saint Laurent keeps investing in exceptional places to present its collections, aside from the traditional fashion calendar. A year ago, the Parisian house picked Venice to reveal its spring-summer 2022 menswear show on La Certosa island, located in the middle of the Serenissima’s lagoon, with an installation designed for the occasion by the American artist Doug Aitken. This time, Anthony Vaccarello has once again opted for an arid setting, as he previously did to present his spring/summer 2021 women’s collection in December 2020 in the Moroccan dunes. For this season, the Agafay desert has hosted the house’s new event. Located several miles away from Marrakesh, this natural gem recalls Yves Saint Laurent’s intimate relationship with the Moroccan city. In 1966, he bought a property there and viewed it as his refuge and a great source of inspiration for his creations. In 2017, the cities of Marrakesh and Paris both inaugurated a museum created by the architects of Studio KO as a tribute to the French designer.
For the house’s new show, British artist and set designer Es Devlin was invited to create a circular platform in the middle of the sand swept by the chergui, the Moroccan desert wind. One by one, fifty models walked around that platform to reveal the silhouettes of the house’s new men’s wardrobe. The suit, Saint Laurent’s historical flagship piece which has always been reinterpreted by its founder and his successors, is at the heart of the collection this season. While the blazers and coats with their defined shoulders draw a seemingly rigid silhouette, their plunging suit collars and fluid fabrics offer some lightness and ease, which contrast with the structure of the ensembles and resonate with the hot and arid weather of the Moroccan desert. That spirit is translated into the long, flowing, high-waisted trousers that elegantly dress the walk, the silk shirts puffed up by potential gusts of wind, the translucent tops sometimes draped around the torso, the scarves delicately tied around the neck, and into the thin leather sandals the models wear to tread upon the Saharan sand.
Several satin ensembles feature long jackets belted around the waist and loose trousers, playing on the ambiguity between domestic garments, such as robes and pyjamas, and low-profile, yet flamboyant, evening wear made of shiny fabrics. These ensembles exist in a range of sober and telluric colors, and Saint Laurent’s prevailing black is sometimes lightened by shades of white, greige, ochre, and sand. Anthony Vaccarello offers several key pieces, such as long fur coats, fine and fitted trench coats, and very structured short coats, like the only purple model of the collection – a striking piece with a large volume and a waistline narrowed down by a thick belt.