In an exposition that spans time, tradition, and tenure, Saint Laurent throws itself into the future with this compelling essay in film and fashion.
It begins like a movie, where the whistle of the tunneling wind gives way to an ominous overture that threads itself through the sinewy interlacing of breathtaking horizons. From the snaking Great Wall of China, the glistening skyscrapers that pierce through the New York skyline, and the gothic architecture that lords over Paris, the visceral point-of-view compels you to explore the cavities and caveats of time and tradition in a heart-racing, action-packed, and hair-raising exposition that is more poetic than high-octane. As the music crescendos from a steady buzzing rhythm to agitated percussions, the telling picks up its pace, leaping and sliding through rooftops as if on the chase of something that is constantly out of reach. In the dizzying intimacy that follows, glass domes are broken through in a sublime slow motion that acts as an overarching anchor to the theme of defying gravity. Reaching new heights in a vertigo-inducing dance of the camera, the day slowly relents to the dark, as the carefree figures all clad in distinct iterations of the carefree boheme vibe flits through the flashes of the night now perforating the mysterious allure.
In a brassy and bellowing orchestration that defines the denouement, swooping in like a big gasp of air as the Eiffel Tower glitters, the army of the night emerges and turns the corner, marching down a path in full command of our attention. More than just a film, however, the artistic project for Saint Laurent by creative director Anthony Vacarello and constant collaborator, Nathalie Canguilhem, is not only the full introduction of Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2021 collection, but more importantly, an evocative proposition for the future of fashion.
Among the first to verbalize its conscious shift away from the rigors of the fashion week calendar, Saint Laurent launches this experiential exercise amid the pandemic where it fully augments reality in a seamless blending of imagination and truth in a coming together of videos, 3D lenticular imagery, music playlist, street posters, hidden stickers, photo walls and decals among many others. While this isn’t the first cinematic effort of this sort in the lens of fashion, it certainly stands to be the most effective, striking that dialogue between the analog and the digital, fully fleshing it out in an essaying of its men’s spring/summer 2021 collection in all its full glory.
Taking the audience right from the comforts of their perch at home and into the hearts of some of fashion’s favorite capitals, the 6-minute fashion film, aptly christened, No Matter How Long The Night Is, there exists a riveting relationship between life and fashion. Where it once was just a jaw-dropping parade of what’s new, now, and next, only to be forgotten moments after the lights of the real world go up, this narrative is a defiance that illustrates how this settled and lived in connection makes it more human than just a mere spectacle. No longer an extension of the rock and roll daydream, the latest offering by Saint Laurent harks closer to the heritage it was built upon. While there is still an electric charge of irreverence, it is a little bit more eclectic in its nonchalance. With the air of a laidback California cool breathing through the collection is a textural cornucopia of louche and languid silhouettes, free-flowing to ones predisposition in silky kaftan-like shirts, feathered blousons, and intricate prints, as well as of wide-brimmed straw hats, mesh and woven footwear. Not to be missed is the signature grace and elegance when it comes to tailoring, which is not only precise but also accessible.
At its point distilled, this is the type of storytelling that while not entirely groundbreaking, leaves an indelible imprint on whoever manages to catch it even in the trails of its prologue. It is inexplicable but somehow, you want to flirt with danger across the edges of New York, heave a winded exhale with eyes closed in China, or even throw yourself against a curtain of glass in Paris, because this is what life is meant to be—lived to its fullest extent. If anything is to be learned from Saint Laurent this season is that it need not be complicated. Even in its simplest, essential, and most intimate, the message will cut across geographies and perspectives, revealing an honesty that could very well take us into the future worth breaking into.