Saint Laurent Spring 2023 Menswear Collection
Come for the spectacle, stay for the clothes. That’s the best way to think about Anthony Vaccarello’s tour de force spring 2023 menswear show. He wisely knew when to turn things up to high drama level—and when to turn them way down so that what he showed, his best men’s collection yet, felt intimate and real and strong. Of course, the setting helped. Vaccarello had decamped to the Agafay desert, an hour or so out of Marrakech. It’s a city with real significance to Yves Saint Laurent the man (he had two homes here, most famously Villa Oasis, nestling beside the Majorelle Garden) and the brand (Marrakech is the location of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent). And then factor in the show’s mise en scène: an epic and haunting circular light show installation designed by artist and set designer Es Devlin, which rose up from a mirage pond, and was erected atop the moonlike terrain.
Still, a cinematic setting doesn’t mean a whole lot if the clothes can’t live up to it. And here was Vaccarello’s master stroke: Present a collection which he said, just before the show, was, “for the first time, my most personal. It’s maybe less, let’s say costume-y, than it could have been in the past.” Vaccarello looked back 20 years to when he was a student in Brussels at the La Cambre art school, a time when the tautly drawn lines of Belgian noir were omnipresent in fashion. It gave a defined tailored silhouette, to be sure, but one with a softness and a crumpled sense of being loveworn. Vaccarello took his own sartorial impulses from his earlier years—“It was how I dressed in 2000. It was a look that I loved, and I wanted to recreate that spirit; I was missing that”—and married them beautifully to the classic codes of YSL.
Trenchcoats came sharply shouldered but with a beguiling fluidity to their silhouette, cut with a barely perceptible flutter to them, in black wool or pliable glove-like leather. Lanky pants started high at the waist then fell into an easier, wider stride, some with a satin-y tux stripe running down the leg, or styled like jeans but cut from the most luscious of velvets, both often partnered with delicate gauzy tops that clung to the torso.
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