Saint Laurent and the new minimalism

María Luísa FunesMaría Luísa Funes




Absolute social distance. That slogan has reigned in the recent Saint Laurent fashion show to present its spring-summer 2021 collection, which took place in a mysterious desert. Of great originality and in an overwhelming scene, a series of strict outfits take up the minimalism of the collections of the turn of the millennium.

Now that so many brands strive to offer patchwork dresses, multicolored crochet sweaters, bohemian garments and the ornate styles of the 60s and 70s, Saint Laurent returns to the minimalism of 2001. Logical: if all brands tend to imitate a certain ugliness, curious, colorful, childish and retro, following the trail started by Miuccia Prada years ago, it is logical to seek to differentiate. When Louis Vuitton and Gucci they follow the unclassifiable originality that before was monopolized by “Signora Prada”, nothing better than recovering the positioning that these brands have left free, that segment thirsty for a minimalist but powerful style that Gucci championed so many years ago.

When Gucci bought Yves Saint Laurent back in 1999, neither of the two brands (now both owned by the Kering group) had yet donned the minimalist style that would come later. In 2001 Tom Ford filled his Gucci collections with black suits and accessories, high necklines and a host of pinstripe garments. Shirts with cuff sleeves tied at the wrists, black sandals with a dizzying heel, leather belts with a round gold buckle and slip-cut tops have covered the runway and shop windows of the brand created by Guccio Gucci in 1921 for years.

In 2002 Yves Saint Laurent retired and left his mark in charge of Tom Ford; The sleek, sexy black style of Gucci’s Texan creative director then flooded the Saint Laurent house collections, previously colorful and frilly. During the time that Ford was in charge of product selection at Gucci and Saint Laurent at the same time, there was a huge reverberation of the Ford style, something that did not benefit either of the brands and that placed them as direct competitors even though they were part. both from the Gucci Group. Many clubs to the water has given Saint Laurent since then.

Now that 16 years ago Ford was kicked out of Gucci-Saint Laurent paradise by the new owners, the Pinaults of the current Kering group, it is when suddenly the house of the French couturier born in Oran seems to regain a prominent place. Taking advantage of the fact that all the brands are distracted by replicating a baroque, bohemian and maximalist style, Saint Laurent, at the hands of Anthony Vaccarello, has presented a spring-summer 2021 collection that displays a new «suiting» -novelty types of tailored suit-, minimalist garments in black and a groundbreaking proposal of basic garments for executives.

Anthony Vaccarello has taken up Gucci pinstripe suits for Tom Ford now combining them with cycling shorts or underwear; he has brought back to the screen the black outfits with marked necklines, the leather and brass belts, the slip tops and the shirts tied at the wrists. Vaccarello has transferred Saint Laurent to a soft, attractive and haunting desert dominated by a giant logo marked in the sand. Change of course. Brilliant strategy. Brilliant staging.

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