Radical drama

Saint Laurent FW22: a thrilling translation of 20s Art Deco through the lens of today
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 2 March 2022

Yves Saint Laurent was a fervent collector of Art Deco. Inside the many homes he owned with his partner Pierre Bergé, the interiors were decorated with rare designs from this defining artistic moment. 

“One of his earliest, most prized acquisitions for his personal collection of objects was a pair of Dunand vases originally exhibited in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs,” read yesterday’s Saint Laurent SS22 press release. “The modernist interiors Jean-Michel Frank designed for avant-garde patrons in the 1930s profoundly impacted how Yves decorated his Paris residence decades later.”

For FW22, Anthony Vaccarello drew these radical worlds together through his own fluid, exaggerated lines, geometric glimmers, statement jewellery and theatrical allure. Taking place in the fashion house’s resident setting at the Trocadero, as the show began, the venue walls lowered, offering a spectacular view of a glistening Paris by night – a vision of controlled architecture that was reflected in the first look: a pitch-black, broad-shouldered masculine peacoat – collar up – wrapped around a bias-cut ivory dress that delicately swirled around the body with utmost drama and romance. Subtle yet stunning, seductive yet strong. Appearing to walk across the Parisian roofs below, this was a moment

Lines drawn, the collection unfolded across a collection defined by the contrast between masculine and feminine; inspired by the masculine-feminine wardrobe of fearless activist publisher Nancy Cunard. And so slender figures stalked the catwalk in gauzy eveningwear balanced with angular jackets that structured silhouettes and signature Cunard bracelets stacked from wrist to elbow. You couldn’t help but picture each model with a cigarette holder in one hand and a strong drink in the other. 

Outerwear was the show-stealer. Following last year’s announcement from Saint Laurent’s parent company Kering that it had gone fur-free, Vaccarello ran with this, bringing faux fur into the Saint Laurent atelier and imbuing it with such verve. It wrapped around models like bathrobes with seemingly nothing beneath, cocooned others like plush armour, trimmed coats, enveloped bodies and accented looks with tactile memories of les années folles through the lens of today. 

Right on cue, the Effiel Tower began its on-the-hour light show, shimmering with delight at a collection as joyful and resolute as itself: “This is a quietly poetic showing,” said Vaccarello in the show notes, “shot through with bursts of unabashed resolve and verve.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Saint Laurent WOMENS-FALL-WINTER-22