The designer joins Document to discuss public image, private moments, and creating a community

Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s label is most often recognized for its unique brand of eroticism: overt, but graceful and fragile at the same time. It’s still an accurate description of the label, except that LdSS has widened its range with its Fall/Winter 2022 presentation. As Ludovic puts it, this collection acknowledges the “off-moments” of everyday life—not every look is for going out, or going viral. Still, LdSS preserves its hallmarks via mesh, crystal, and lots of skin.

While the flowing silhouettes were inspired by private moments, de Saint Sernin also explores the concept of the designer’s outward image in this show. By juxtaposing private and public identities, LdSS presents a collection that’s versatile, but not diluted. Document recently caught up with Ludovic de Saint Sernin to discuss designing for yourself, offline clothes, and recharging between seasons.

Peter Miklas: You walked in your own show, and you also mentioned casting doppelgängers.’ As a designer, to what extent are you creating garments for yourself?

Ludovic de Saint Sernin: This season was all about being your own muse—being your own main character. My collections have always been very autobiographical, but this one is more me than ever before. I wanted to create clothes for every occasion, to have the perfect look for each moment of the day. I took inspiration from my own life and habits and created a collection that’s truly informed by my environment and lifestyle. When people think of LdSS, they think fantasy, party, the body. It was important for me to show the world, this is really how I live, and how my friends live—but this time, I included a bit more reality and gave it more range. It wasn’t just naked looks.

Peter: Concepts like the designer’s cult of celebrity, self-image, and public opinion were sources of inspiration for this collection. Where did this idea come from?

Ludovic: I love fashion. It sounds cliché, but I really do. I love its history. I’ve always been fascinated by fashion designers and their image; as a designer, you’re supposed to be behind the scenes, but some of my favorites have developed such an iconic image. I love it—why not? Some of them have even become more famous than their actual brands.

It’s interesting, because it’s probably not done on purpose—I’m not a designer because I want to be famous. Becoming a public figure comes with the territory, though, and it’s your own choice to decide how you’re going to portray yourself. I think it’s best to have fun with it. If you’re having fun, the people watching you and supporting you will have fun, too, and that’s the sweet spot.

Peter: Would you say this is your most accessible collection yet?

Ludovic: I’d like to think that it is, but take that with a grain of salt. It will always be LdSS.

I think this collection is more versatile—versatile in the sense that it’s not just fabulous looks for fabulous outings. The way I thought about this collection was: I am packing my suitcase for a long holiday with my boyfriend and my friends, what do I want to wear? This is how we ended up with the collection—the same way you would pack your suitcase at home with your favorite stuff for a trip you have been looking forward to. Except I’m a Virgo, so you know it’s gonna be the tightest selection ever.

Peter: This collection really balances established LdSS signatures with a new, more understated direction. Was it a challenge presenting these two identities together?

Ludovic: It came pretty naturally, actually. The key was to implement pieces and styles that I would wear in private, meaning pieces that are worn offline—not for public appearances or on Instagram, but in the privacy of your own home, in the bedroom, or on the street when you don’t care who’s looking and you just want to feel good. We all have these off-moment looks that we don’t really acknowledge, but they’re important.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin by Willy Vanderperre.

Peter: What were your goals for this collection? Was there a specific creative statement you wanted to make?

Ludovic: The main statement is, Be your own muse. Sometimes, there’s a visual disconnect between the designer and the models and the shows. For me, it’s crucial to represent the brand as a community—a community that celebrates love, sex, and freedom. It was important that I walked the show to present this vision of all of us together, as a family and as a collective.

Peter: Would you say the brand’s identity has changed since it began?

Ludovic: I don’t think that the brand’s identity has changed, but I would say that it has evolved. The brand is like a journal; it reflects what I’m going through, and what we’re going through societally. You can’t be a brand today and not acknowledge what’s going on in the world. But of course, you see it through your own eyes, through your own experience and circumstances. In five years, I have grown—my life is different, so it’s only natural for the brand to reflect that. And as the brand is growing, it isn’t just mine anymore. It’s yours, it’s other people’s, and I have to open it to a message that’s wider and more inclusive.

Peter: What are you thinking about next?

Ludovic: Being in the moment more, and having more life experiences that can inspire and influence my work. Coming off of one of the biggest shows I’ve ever done, I feel almost empty. Not in a bad way, but I need to recharge—like a writer who needs to live a little in order to write his next chapter. But fashion isn’t like other art forms, where you don’t really have a timeline. Seasons don’t wait around, and you have to deliver a new story every season, more inspiring than the one before. Next season is summer, and this is where I thrive. I can’t wait.

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