I really had to think about what I think about Saint Laurent’s Winter ’21 collection, revealed digitally today through a film shot against an epic background of glaciers and rolling rural hills. Anthony Vaccarello made a point to keep said location a fiercely-guarded secret, much like last season’s sepia-toned desert set, and the pared-back show notes were devoid of much detail. With little context to go on, music that felt rather Apocalyptic, and, let’s just say, a ‘more is more’ approach to styling, I closed the YouTube tab on my computer feeling more perplexed than anything.
In the aforementioned sparse show notes, Vaccarello did touch on the juxtapositions at play. For example: “Hanging in the balance between right and wrong, the ephemeral takes over…Colors clash against the black scene…The irrepressible lightness of the collection mocks its serious ambitions, reversing preconceptions.” At first glance of the 64-look collection, the contrast between eras, genres, and textures was certainly evident, if not a little overwhelming. Alas, Vaccarello described his approach as “[shaking] up Saint Laurent’s bourgeois codes” and between the decadent Dr Zhivago-style cossack hats, the opulent tweed and embellished jackets, (faux) fur cuffs, 1980s-style pedal pushers, and metallic minis, no one could say that the house’s knack for joie de vivre dressing didn’t come through.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about (on Wednesdays I think!) is a podcast episode I was listening to this morning, in which two early 30-something women who’ve spent their careers working in media talked about the ironic reality of being surrounded by beautiful fashion 24/7, but having the type of sum on your pay check that means you’ll never really call it your own.
Luckily, honing your taste and your discerning eye while working in the industry is one thing that’s reliably free. And after perusing the lookbook several more times, the further I moved away from thinking “models got lost in a costume shop?!” to, “wait…this is actually quite fun.” Like those podcasters implied, a Saint Laurent feather-trimmed skirt, a trophy tailleur, or itsy bitsy pair of brocade hot pants isn’t likely to magically fund its way into my closet anytime soon. Yet the fact that there was so much to dissect, look at, and think about in each and every outfit ignited excitement. Vaccarello’s FW ’21 direction also served as welcome inspiration for what to do with all the vintage and present day pieces I’ve spent years collecting. The key takeaway? Wear it all at once, if you so please! As we eagerly plan our reopening outfits, this collection came as a reminder to mix and match with bravado, and dust down your own precious heirlooms so you can feel that sartorial joy again. My bank account mightn’t spell bourgeois, but watch and see how my outfits will.
See selected looks from the collection below: