Eternal muse

Saint Laurent SS22: when Yves Saint Laurent met Paloma Picasso
By Kinza Shenn | Fashion | 29 September 2021

Rain fell, and the Eiffel Tower flashed and glittered, and Saint Laurent’s return to Paris carried a sense of heartache and homecoming. It was the house’s first show since a world tour of digital presentations, and it spoke a love letter to the glamorous romance undulating the fashion capital.

Paloma Picasso was the muse, who originally inspired Saint Laurent’s ‘Scandal’ collection of ‘71, and his career-defining turn away from the perfectionism of couture to a different kind of empowerment of something more wild, free and personal. Rakish signatures of power shoulders, floral dresses and platforms picked up at flea markets; the red lipstick she started wearing at the age of 6; the clutch tucked into the waistband – a way Picasso once carried a theatre program by night as captured in paparazzi shots.

The broad shoulders played an androgynous line, but Anthony Vaccarello spent months perfecting the crop of the jacket sleeve and waistline to balance out the silhouette – it was a response to ubiquitous boxy longline styles more popular today. The collection too was less overtly sexy than Vaccarello’s last, and against the mood defining fashion month thus far. It’s in this way that, half a century on, the call of Picasso rang through once more.

“We were invited to a friend’s house who was throwing a party. At one point, I no longer spot Yves. I look for him and find him with a young unknown girl. She had wedge heels, a turban on her head, and things she had tinkered into clothes. It was Paloma Picasso.” – Pierre Bergé

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show