The French house returns to its original muse with Anthony Vaccarello’s Men’s Spring/Summer 2023 presentation

Four years after founding his French house, Yves Saint Laurent discovered intimate refuge in Marrakesh. Looking back at one of his first visits with the designer, Saint Laurent’s longtime business partner Pierre Bergé shares: “One morning we awoke and the sun had appeared. A Moroccan sun that probes every recess and corner. The birds were singing, the snow-capped Atlas Mountains blocked the horizon, and the perfume of jasmine rose to our room. We would never forget that morning, since in a certain way, it decided our destiny.” The two fell in love with the city, its relaxing culture, and the bright colors common to the local clothing styles.

Returning to the founder’s original muse, Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello brought models to Morocco’s sand dunes for his Men’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection. He collaborated with London-based artist and stage designer Es Devlin to create a set in the middle of the Agafay Desert, inspired by Paul Bowles’s 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky. The result was “a ring-shaped, luminous oasis amid the vast, arid unknown,” juxtaposing hope and mystery and illustrating life’s complexitiy.

For the collection’s presentation, a film by Nathalie Canguilhem revealed models dressed in black from head to toe. A few exceptions to the monochromatic uniforms took shape as breezy white and tan garments. Other standouts were an oversized, floor-length fur coat and a shoulder-padded jacket in deep plum that tied at the waist. Vaccarello took inspiration from the fashion of Marrakesh, creating relaxed or boxy silhouettes with high waists and wide legs. Even the signature tailored tuxedo was reimagined in lightweight silk-faille, one of Saint Laurent’s favorite fabrics. Again, Vaccarello combined traditionally masculine features with the feminine, executing fluid looks that were soft, yet strong.

The intimate short film then ends with Bowles’s timeless words: “We think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”