Saint Laurent FW23 was a masterful symphony of texture, fluidity and flair
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 18 January 2023

In recent seasons, Anthony Vaccarello‘s work for the house has outlined a layered poetry that stems from the dark romance at the core of the Parisian fashion house. For FW23, this noir beauty enraptured. The show took place inside the iconic rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce, which house’s the renowned Pinault Collection. In the centre stood a black grand piano – a symbolic and intimate image that has captivated audiences for centuries. 

The show notes called this season “a sequel to preceding seasons”, the next chapter in Vaccarello’s vision. And it came with a poignant soundtrack: a live score written by longtime collaborator SebastiAn and performed by Parisian musician Paul Prier. 

The lavish setting was immediately reflected in the opening look – a white shirt crafted with a sculptural bow across the front, tied at the neck, paired with black wide-leg trousers: utterly Saint Laurent – distilled and reborn. Taking cues from Vaccarello’s lean, chic womenswear, his man mirrored these traits. It was amped up elegance and sophistication – but not in rigid, done-up sense of the word, in a totally free-flowing, fluid, sensual manner. 

Where the house’s male codes have often and historically been transposed to its womenswear, here was that play in reverse – “a reciprocal influence is inescapable.” Le Smoking jackets were built with hard shoulders that melted into an easeful stride, especially when paired with beautifully draped silk shirting – other shirts were shaped to wrap the hips like cummerbunds. Velvets, cashmere, satin, mohair. Funnel neck knits encased models, as did exquisite sequinned iterations, while sheer layers of fabric swished around the body as if they were placed by angelic beings. 

It was clear that every aspect of the show had been considered to minute detail – we wouldn’t be surprised if Vaccarello had considered and accommodated for every hushed “wow” from the audience. All the while, Prier’s delicate piano filled the room. 

Coats were voluminous and opulent in a way that pulls your whole posture upright in order to prove that you are indeed worthy of wearing its decadence, draped hoods nodded to Yves’ iconic capuche dresses, and a black patent leather trench shimmered under spotlight with a hint of danger. 

Prior to the finale, Peter Prier stepped away from the piano to be replaced by best friend of the house Charlotte Gainsbourg, wearing an all-black suit and ruffled shirt. Playing in dimmed light as models circled the room, their shadows stretched across the circular floor. It was haunting, beautiful, yet subtle, like something Paul Thomas Anderson would conjure on screen. A symphony of design, art, and finesse.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Saint Laurent MENS-FALL-WINTER-23