From the whimsical and mystical Agafay desert backdrop to the circular light show installation designed by Es Devlin, Vaccarello presented a collection that was, as he explained, ‘for the first time, my most personal. It's maybe less, let's say, costume-y, than it could have been in the past.’
Although I didn't own a YSL at the time, Vaccarrello brought back some 2000s nostalgia with the traditional tux and double-breasted jacket. Now, I’m really showing my age, but I can’t help but remember the 2001 Fall/Winter haute couture collection, in which Yves Saint Laurent replaced the traditional jacket with some fur and forwent shirts altogether.
Anyway, I adored every moment of Vaccarello's past-to-future adaptation – particularly given the fascinating background behind his decisions.
From the moment Yves Saint Laurent discovered Marrakech in 1966, the city became the designer's intimate refuge, where he enjoyed a calmer, more effortless rhythm of life in contrast to his busy Parisian work schedule.
The evocative backdrop for Anthony Vaccarello's collection is the eminent personal significance of Marrakech for his house's founder and a superbly forward-looking Saint Laurent Spring Summer 2023 collection. If there ever was a line between what constitutes a 'masculine' wardrobe and what makes clothes' feminine,' it elegantly dissolves here.
Once again, Saint Laurent reinterprets and refines the tuxedo, a seminal element of its vocabulary a continuation of the variations Vaccarello explored in the brand's Autumn Winter 2022 collection for women. New designs encompass an evolution of collar and shoulder solutions, single and double-breasted garments, as well as an elegant yet modern cream iteration of the tuxedo in lightweight silk faille.
The silhouettes are globally more relaxed, reflecting a sense of ease typical of life in Marrakech. A predominant high waist and wide leg create an elongated shape occasionally interrupted with narrow or boxy accents. Outer pieces are more free-flowing, fluid, and less constructed: gathered satin coats envelop the body almost to the ground while tailored jackets have a graphic edge. Grain de poudre, a finely tactile wool fabric with a long history at the house – Yves Saint Laurent loved to use it – makes a prominent showing, recurring throughout the collection.
The show's setting pays homage to Morocco's majestic beauty: inspired by Paul Bowles' 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky, Vaccarello and stage designer Es Devlin conceived an awe-inspiring desert oasis amid the vast, arid expanse of Agafay desert.
Hope and mystery are juxtaposed as a metaphor for life's fascinating complexity.
We think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.