It is widely known that the city of Marrakech held a place in Yves Saint Laurent‘s heart. Over the course of three decades, the iconic designer travelled to Morocco with Pierre Bergé dozens of times, remarking the destination’s unique charm was a constant inspiration. So it is no surprise that current YSL creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s thoroughly forward-looking Men’s Spring Summer 2023 collection for Saint Laurent would take place in the fabled city. The fashion collection is said to be a representation of where the line between what constitutes a ‘masculine’ wardrobe and what makes clothes ‘feminine,’ elegantly dissolves here. Judging by the stunning runway show, YSL nailed it.
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The show took place in the Agafay desert, an hour or so out of Marrakech and was led by artist and set designer Es Devlin. The creative envisioned a mirage pond as well as an epic and haunting circular light show installation that rose up from the watery depths. Appearing like some kind of portal into another dimension, the scene was bathed in fog, sending haze drifting across the set as the models whisked around.
Saint Laurent’s tuxedos have a reputation for elegance and structure. But how can you build upon such a reputation, well Vaccarello has reinterpreted, refined and updated the classic tux, utilizing all the inherent fluidity of YSL’s beloved Grain De Poudre fabric, while others were cut from the slitheriest and slippiest of lounge lizard satins. He shaped his jackets with a judiciously judged jut to their shoulders, finishing them off by having them clasp the body via their double-breasted or wrap-over fastenings, drawing attention to a slenderized waist in the process.
Models wore trenchcoats that are sharply shouldered, each 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 and then fell into an easier, wider stride – some with a satiny tux stripe running down the leg while others are styled like jeans but cut from the most luscious of velvets, both often partnered with delicate gauzy tops that clung to the torso.
It’s common knowledge that Saint Laurent was someone who questioned the conventions of gender, with this collection Vaccarello has really picked up the gauntlet and run with it. Vaccarello’s silhouettes are globally more relaxed, reflecting the ease of life typical of Marrakech.
A predominant high waist and wide leg create an elongated shape occasionally interrupted with narrow or boxy accents. Outer pieces are looser, fluid and less constructed gathered satin coats envelop the body almost to the ground while tailored jackets have a graphic sharpness.
Naturally, Vaccarello’s latest endeavour is a trademark blend of high fashion techniques and natural edge influences. Set to a stunning backdrop and dripping with unique flamboyant charm, the new YSL Men’s Spring Summer 2023 collection served up more than just good looks.