Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor Men's Fashion Writer
SAINT LAURENT winter 2023 was a triumphant collection by Anthony Vaccarello. It was not unlike admiring a great piece of French decorative art by a master designer. Every movement, every characteristic was an object of precise vision and beauty. The set design enhanced an artistic balance with the staging, directed by Gaspar Noe. The craft of fashion and site called to mind the artistry of François Rémond's late eighteenth century master metalwork. He is an artist whose work is part of the Frick Collection in New York. Rémond like Anthony Vaccarello successfully merged craft ,classically fluid black bronze figures, intertwined with temple architecture and repoussé design. SAINT LAURENT Winter 2023 was a modern example of what makes and has made centuries of French fashion engaged with decorative art and architecture a high standard of luxury and beauty. This collection was a straightforward design heir of the beauty of form and fashion within the decorative environment.
The understanding of design which are intrinsic to the SAINT LAURENT brand was carried through in the artistic concepts. It was Anthony Vaccarello’s evolving vision to stage the collection in the rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection. Art and SAINT LAURENT have been synonymous since the house's founding in 1964. The intimacy of artistic concept and the site-specific experience of the art museum, were key factors in the selection of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. His radical structure-within-a-structure of the rotunda was an ideal design choice for SAINT LAURENT's concise and intimate presentation.
Vaccarello's collection statement affirmed 'The gleaming concrete cylinder echoes the luminous circle a motif at the center of the brand’s last menswear show; almost inadvertently, the 'O' shape, a symbol of perfection and purity of execution, became a recurring, pertinent thread at Saint Laurent.'
Winter 2023 is a sequel, a continuation of a "refined and exhaustively thought-out details." Winter 2023 indulges in a long, fluid silhouette. Vaccarello also presented a highly structured forms with assertive shoulders and a narrow waist. It was another chapter in the conversation about gender neutral shapes and clothing. Fluid has long been one of the house’s signature dialogues, 'borrowed male elements always inform SAINT LAURENT women's collections for winter 2023 a reciprocal influence is inescapable.'
In the men's collection the gender interplay is seen most in the masterful crafting of proportions particularly within the concepts of wrapping the body. Hooded silhouettes, large ties resembling bows, wide open draped necklines with wrapped cummerbund waists and cagoules were all part of this dialogue.
The collections palette was mostly black a Vaccarello and house staple, however, collection highlights were also seen in white, camel, navy, flashes of silver. The designer's goal was to add strengthen and support to a bold level of sophistication. A tremendously architectural design approach, the variation was welcome, not only did it provide plurality the pieces were well suited statements for the times and market.
Silk chiffon shirt and hooded knitwear tunics were paired with ground-skimming trousers and coats. There were brown sweatpants-inspired trousers, fashioned with wide legs and paired with a double-breasted, ankle grazing leather trench coat. The look was one of many adding to the post COVID resignation in fitted form. Vaccarello stated that 'Shape and length were reconsidered to produce exciting pieces that reinterpret established brand codes. Soft fabrics – including mohair, cashmere, satin, and velvet – contrast with hard-edged textures.' The result was a striking mix of hard and soft, matte and shine fluid and formed.
This was a stupendous collection of design and fashion with in the French tradition of luxury and a notable punctuation mark for the house of SAINT LAURENT.