moroccan desert backdrops es devlin-designed saint laurent show


saint laurent honors morocco

 

The setting of Saint Laurent’s Spring Summer 2023 menswear show honors the majestic beauty of Morocco. The brand’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello teams with London-based artist and stage designer Es Devlin to create the dream-like set in the middle of Agafay desert, nearly twenty miles outside Marrakech. The centerpiece of the show, a luminous ring rises from a circular pond and emits billowing clouds of mist, setting the atmosphere for the vast show.

 

Morocco represents a significant location for the brand‘s history, as it had been an intimate refuge for Yves Saint Laurent ever since the designer had discovered Marrakech in 1966. There, he’d found calming retreat from his life in Paris.

moroccan desert provides an ethereal backdrop for es devlin-designed show for saint laurentimage via Saint Laurent

 

 

a desert mirage by es devlin

 

The Saint Laurent show appears from the endless landscape as a desert mirage, designed by Es Devlin (see here) with influence by The Sheltering Sky, a 1949 novel written by Paul Bowles which takes place in the cities and deserts of North Africa. Seeking to respect the delicate ecology of the landscape, the group strived toward a low-impact design. This led to the use of non-potable water within the pool which, after the event, is slated for agricultural use in the area.

saint laurent moroccoimage, header video courtesy Es Devlin

 

 

The design team highlights an excerpt from The Sheltering Sky to express the spirit of the space: ‘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.

moroccan desert provides an ethereal backdrop for es devlin-designed show for saint laurentimage courtesy Es Devlin

 

 

The line between masculine and feminine dissolved

 

While the significance of the Moroccan setting looks to the past to honor the history of the brand, the menswear collection is certainly forward-thinking. The team explains: ‘If there ever was a line between what constitutes a ‘masculine’ wardrobe and what makes clothes ‘feminine,’ it elegantly dissolves here.’

 

‘The tuxedo, perhaps the most seminal element of the Saint Laurent vocabulary, once again gets reinterpreted, refined and imbued with possibility… Exciting choices encompass new collar and shoulder solutions, single and double-breasted options, as well as a debonair yet modern cream iteration of the tuxedo in lightweight silk faille.’

moroccan desert provides an ethereal backdrop for es devlin-designed show for saint laurent
image via Saint Laurent

 

 

The group continues: ‘A predominant high waist and wide leg create an elongated shape occasionally interrupted with narrow or boxy accents. The silhouettes are globally more relaxed, reflecting an ease of life typical of Marrakech. Outer pieces are looser, fluid, less constructed: gathered satin coats envelop the body almost to the ground while tailored jackets have a graphic sharpness.’

 

‘Grain de poudre, a finely tactile wool fabric with a long association at the house – Yves Saint Laurent loved using it – makes a strong showing, recurring in multiple looks.’

moroccan desert provides an ethereal backdrop for es devlin-designed show for saint laurent
image via Saint Laurent

 

 

video filmed by Nathalie Canguilhem, soundtrack by SebastiAn



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