• Text Jake Hall
  • Photography Sara Cimino
  • 20th January 2020

wounded heart

Despite his namesake label being just a few seasons old, Ludovic de Saint Sernin attracted a newsworthy front row: from Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing to acclaimed photographer Willy Vanderperre, who shot his sexed-up SS20 campaign, it’s clear the designer is already commanding respect within his industry.

For FW20, he wanted these guests to know that he was nursing a wounded heart. Show notes explained that the creation of this collection – his fifth so far – was a “cathartic expression.” This expression was sometimes literal, with ceramic chest plates and belt buckles bearing the symbol of a broken heart. Looks were predominantly black and white, but even the exact choice of white communicated his feelings – it was called blanc cassé, which translates literally to “broken”.

This pared-back colour palette allowed the silhouettes to shine. Some men wore diagonally-striped tank tops with scalloped hems, which crept up to reveal their midriff; others wore ribbed, knitted catsuits with leather boots and metal accessories. There was more and more flesh on display as the show progressed; open-weave, cobweb knits were threaded with crystals, and coats switched from heavy wool to light, transparent silk, revealing a pair of leather briefs and matching leather gloves.

As he moved through the stages of heartbreak, de Saint Sernin soon found himself drawn to superheroes – specifically the contrast between the normality of their alias and the strength of their alter-ego. It was a poignant reminder that toughness and vulnerability can go hand-in-hand, and that working through pain can remind us of our inner strength. In this case, it can also result in expressions of admirable creativity.