Held in Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2024 men’s show was inspired by German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Below, see five key takeaways from British Vogue critic Anders Christian Madsen.
The show took place in the Neue Nationalgalerie
On Monday evening in Berlin, Saint Laurent kicked off the men’s show season with an intimate show staged in the Neue Nationalgalerie. “I always wanted to show something here,” Anthony Vaccarello said before the show, gesturing at the interiors of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s architectural masterpiece. “The taste of people in Berlin is very high, I think. Coming here, I wanted to show something I was really proud of. I see this as my third men’s collection. It started from Marrakech,” he noted, referring to last summer’s men’s show, which wasn’t his first but the one that set Saint Laurent on the menswear path that made January’s show the most talked-about in Paris. “Now that I feel very confident with what I’m doing for men’s, and I put it at the same level as the women’s, I was ready to come here and present it to this audience.”
It continued to build on Vaccarello’s new menswear vision
Following in the hyper-elegant, dandy-esque footsteps of January’s menswear spectacular, Vaccarello intensified his formal proposal for the Saint Laurent man in dark, romantic, broad-shouldered razor-sharp tailoring underpinned by delicate elements from the women’s wardrobe like halter and wrap tops and his emblematic pussy-bows. “I started with the last women’s collection. She was very Parisian but she was two steps from being Berlin. When you see her, she could be in a film by Fassbinder. From that, I started to build the collection from the women’s shapes, putting them on men. I wanted it to be really classic: the poplin with the grain de poudre and the satin lapel,” Vaccarello explained. “It’s playing with the codes of femininity and masculinity so you don’t know the limit between them.”
The collection was infused with the characters of Berlin
A Rainer Werner Fassbinder fan, Vaccarello infused the collection with the spirit of the characters of the director’s films, from Querelle to Le Droit du Plus Fort. But in the stark context of van der Rohe’s monolithic setting, the androgynous ghosts of Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie couldn’t help but invigorate the proposal with a decided feeling of Berlin, too. “I don’t think about gender things,” Vaccarello said. “I don’t do it because it’s cool to be gender fluid now. I do it because I like it like that. There’s no political message behind it. Monsieur Saint Laurent never did. Everything he did was very political but there was never a predisposition on something. And I think that’s cool. Everyone can interpret it in the way they want.”
The show was super intimate
The show continued to reinforce the powerful structure Vaccarello is creating at Saint Laurent: a concise, ravishing message presented in stunning but intimate frames; a premise that packs a punch. “I like, now, that it’s more edited. There’s one message. I don’t like to give a bit of everything. When you leave the show, you have a clear silhouette in your mind,” he said. Only 300 people were invited to the show: a mix of friends of the house who worked with Yves Saint Laurent himself, new house ambassadors, and the press. “I do it for people who work in fashion and really love fashion and love the brand for real. Not someone who goes to every show to wear what we told them to wear,” Vaccarello smiled.
It continued to bring Saint Laurent back to its heritage
In a time when the grandes maisons of fashion are increasingly focused on heritage-building, Vaccarello is slowly but surely restoring Saint Laurent to its foundation. Last summer, he quietly swapped the re-imagined sans-serif logo of the house for Yves’s original branding, albeit still sans the founder’s first name. “It’s the original one. I’ve been here for seven years, and I need to be excited and see things differently. That logo makes more and more sense to me. It was like that before and that’s how it should be,” Vaccarello said. “Elegant.”
This article was originally published on British Vogue.