The YSL Spring/Summer 2023 Menswear show held on July 15th in Marrakech, Morocco was inspired by the late designer’s storied connection to Morocco. Having bought property in the city of Marrakech, Yves Saint Laurent sought out the eclecticism and eccentric colours of Morocco as inspiration for his namesake brand. The vibrancy that characterized the designer’s subsequent collections was unheard-of in his earlier work, taking inspiration from the country’s varied hues and traditional dress. Yves once said, “on every street corner in Marrakech, you encounter astonishingly vivid groups of men and women, who stand out in a blend of pink, blue, green, and purple kaftans.”
Curation of the Show
Fast forward to 2022 in the Agafai Desert outside Marrakech, Morocco, Anthony Vaccarello and Saint Laurent have returned to Saint Laurent’s cherished Morocco, again drawing inspiration from the country’s rich sartorial expression.
Vaccarello hired British artist and designer Ev Devlin to help stage the sunset display around a well in the center of the vast, dry, “moon-like desert”. The structure ascended into the air and illuminated, emitting an auratic haze and creating an alien-esque atmosphere. Probing existential sorrow, Vaccarello referred to the 1949 book “The Sheltering Sky,” which is set in North Africa. “We consider life an inexhaustible well. Still, everything happens a certain number of times and is actually very few,” according to author Paul Bowles. The collection, tout en noir juxtaposed by the orange glow of the sunset animated a certain anachronism that distinctly recalled the genius of YSL himself.
In keeping with the revival of the power suit from the 1980s (a motif that Saint Laurent draws upon heavily) jackets were exaggeratedly proportioned and structured. Composed of mini shorts, flowy bell-bottom trousers, airy trench coats, sleek black satin suits, and floating silk chiffon tops, the collection was a veritable melange of ease and restriction.
Carbon Neutral Show
In a statement, Saint Laurent announced that the show is carbon neutral and that it has taken a variety of initiatives to lessen its environmental impact. “Event carbon dioxide emissions are calculated and all greenhouse gas emissions are offset by validated REDD + projects that not only protect critical forests and biodiversity but also support community life.”
The water utilized during the collection, as per the brand owner, is not suitable for consumption, therefore, will be used to water the olive trees in the Agaffai region. New products are recycled, reused, or made a donation to help support local associations, which include women’s cooperative societies in Marrakech, in order to reclaim the textiles and make rugs.
Tala is an Editorial Intern at Liminul. She’s a creative writer/director, graphic designer, and event coordinated based in Toronto. Tala is a third year student majoring in Fashion Communications at X University.