Saint Laurent’s Men’s Show Dazzles in Morocco’s Luminous Desert

Anthony Vaccarello’s Spring/Summer 2023 presentation is a homecoming of sorts, set in the vicinity of the house founder’s Marrakech refuge




The stark curves of secluded sand dunes set against a darkening sky in the arid Agafay desert heralded the start of Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2023 men’s presentation held in Morocco, just outside Marrakech. As the first reinterpreted tuxedo looks emerged—jutting shoulders, wide lapels, bare chests, all paired with barely-there sandals—echoes of house founder Yves Saint Laurent elegantly filtered through. The masculine-feminine Le Smoking, one of the most striking house silhouettes, and its champion, who arrived in Marrakech in 1966 and designed countless collections from his home in the North African city, are both subtly evoked in the setting and succession of slenderly cut looks.



The designs nod to the French fashion house’s current creative director’s Fall/Winter 2022 women’s looks, also based on long and narrow tux-derived shapes, and to an early aughts minimalism that’s both elegant and pared back. Here, Vaccarello’s men in high-waisted, wide-legged pants and trench coats bring to mind the beautifully fluid, looser garments typically worn in this wind-swept region. Models clad mainly in black, some in single-breasted and double-breasted tuxes, one shaped as a cape, and even a delicate cream-colored silk faille iteration, advanced in a circle against a backdrop of sand dusted with smoke around a ring-shaped oasis designed in collaboration with Es Devlin, the London-based artist and set designer.



Vaccarello says the desert venue, a short drive from Marrakech, was also inspired by Paul Bowles’ 1949 novel, The Sheltering Sky, itself a meditation on the beauty and risks of traveling in the desert and the existential questions provoked by the vastness of the natural expanse for those wandering through it. In the book, the story’s protagonist Kit Moresby recalls her husband Port’s musings, “We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well…” And his follow-up question, “How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” The boundless desert juxtaposed with elongated shapes and flowing fabrics including nearly floor-length satin coats and a palette of black, white and tan—with a single hit of purple—play into the dreamlike qualities of the setting, while the wind cuts through the sharp tailoring and clingy tops with billowing bows just like Bowles’ words.


July 22, 2022

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