Evoking the saturated allure of 1960s ‘giallo’ films, Anthony Vaccarello's latest collaboration with Gaspar Noé casts Charlotte Rampling as its high priestess
A girl tears screaming through the dark wood, the shadows threatening to swallow her as she runs from an unseen evil. Shifting branches loom in contrast with the glowing orange light as she sprints towards a baroque manor in the distance which may hold further (impeccably dressed) dangers, but she takes her chances. Inside, the girl—newly-minted scream queen Aylah Mae Peterson—is greeted with knowing indifference by either the world’s most hauntingly beautiful quarantine pod or the chicest coven since Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Bathed in hazy, red light, they check their phones, play chess, and float from one brocade or velvet sofa to another. They are waiting, to the mounting soundtrack of SebastiAn’s interpretation of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love,’ for a signal from their leader, the high priestess Charlotte Rampling.
Thus begins Saint Laurent’s latest collaboration with filmmaker Gaspar Noé following Lux Æterna, a witchy mockumentary that debuted at Cannes last year. Noé and Anthony Vaccarello continue to evoke the unsettling, highly stylized spirit of 1960s giallo films, bringing Saint Laurent’s summer collection alive with Summer of ’21. Indulging in the suspense and saturated sensuality of the genre, Summer of ’21 inspires an evening of candlelight, red wine, and, perhaps, ritual blood sacrifice.