In the Desert of Morocco, Saint Laurent Felt Right at Home

In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent first visited Marrakech, a spot that might grow to be sacred to him for its sense of calm. He designed his collections there, visiting in June and December to seek out solitude away from swinging Paris. In Morocco he discovered shade, and the work he produced there was dominated by vivid hues that had by no means been seen in his work earlier than.

It was additionally in Marrakech that Saint Laurent, who was born in Oran, Algeria and moved to the French capital aged 18, wore a few of his most iconic garments, cementing himself not simply as a designer on a mission to energetically cloak women and men, however as a method maven in his personal proper. Right here within the Purple Metropolis, he swept the personal halls of Dar el-Hanch in wide-legged blue wash denims minimize tight on the thigh with matching shirts, Cuban heeled boots, and louche ivory fits. He noticed the town as a quiet retreat from the world. “Yves by no means actually left the home,” defined Saint Laurent artistic director Anthony Vaccarello forward of the model’s Spring/Summer time 2023 menswear present. “He was all about studying, desirous about garments and spending time with mates.” 

For the label’s newest menswear present, Vaccarello, who has served as artistic director since 2016, left the home in a serious approach, transporting near 300 editors, TikTokers and celebrities (Dominic Fike, Stranger Issues heavy Jamie Campbell Bower, and Steve Lacy amongst them) to the hazy Agafay desert. Visitors had been despatched on convoy, 007-style, in blacked-out vans to a camp within the centre of the desert, the place they discovered a large-scale set up designed at the side of British artist-cum-set designer Es Devlin. Like some galactic cantonment out of Arrival or Dune, two high-shine metallic packing containers acted as a gateway to the catwalk, which, for the primary time within the historical past Saint Laurent’s males’s reveals, was round, wrapping itself round a makeshift plunge pool from which an unlimited ring of sunshine emerged. “I needed one thing mushy, even sensual, that stood in distinction to my sometimes straight catwalks,” Vaccarello defined.

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As the thrill of the group settled down, a faux mist swept throughout the scene, whereas the thumps of music curated by Saint Laurent’s go-to DJ Sebastian broke the eeriness of the panorama. Vaccarello’s first mannequin stomped his approach throughout the grainy ground and the present started. Vaccarello didn’t simply replicate or reference the aforementioned garments—floor-length, breathable “Bougainvilleas” robes in cobalt and scarlet, and purple caftans—that Saint Laurent put out after falling for Morocco again within the Sixties. As a substitute, the 50-strong assortment was predominantly black—only a handful of sandy seems to be and one magenta jacket strayed from Vaccarello’s signature hue. When requested why he thought this was match for summer season, Vaccarello answered, “Why not? Blue, pink and yellow is the Moroccan cliché. I needed to keep away from it and black is one of the best ways to essentially see the physique’s silhouette, particularly within the desert.”

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