The Winter 2022 Saint Laurent women’s collection offers a meaningful nod to Yves Saint Laurent and his love for the Art Deco style.
One of the most influential designers of the twentieth century, Yves Saint Laurent was also a dedicated patron of the arts alongside his business partner and co-founder, Pierre Bergé. Over decades, the pair assembled a collection of priceless paintings, archaeological artefacts, sculptures (including a work by Picasso), African masks, objets d’art, various books and manuscripts thoughtfully selected to complement one another.
Despite exposure to many styles and movements, Art Deco occupied a special place in Yves Saint Laurent’s heart. One of his earliest and most prized acquisitions for his personal collection was a pair of Dunand vases first exhibited in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs.
As time went on, the modernist interiors designed by Jean-Michel Frank for avant-garde patrons in the 1930s also made a strong impression on Yves, changing the way he decorated his Paris residence decades later. Despite the late French designer’s undeniable fondness for the Art Deco aesthetic, few traces made their way into his runway collections.
This year, the radical elan of Art Deco permeates the Winter 2022 Saint Laurent women’s collection. The popular style is characterised by sleek geometries or stylised forms, influenced by Cubism and Vienna Secession. Although the reference here is not literal, the movement informs the show in essence and overall outline. Art Deco combines modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials, representing luxury, glamour and technological progress at the height of its popularity.
Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello looks to another twentieth-century icon in the realisation of the winter collection, referencing British writer Nancy Cunard. The independent-minded activist publisher would dress audaciously ahead of her time, giving her masculine wardrobe her own indelible imprint. With his guiding template, Vaccarello translates Cunard’s intrepid ethos and embeds it in our current movement. To accomplish this, signature pieces of the house take on a dramatic new form, enveloping long fluid lines beneath.
The considered silhouette takes on a new definition through tension. Signature Yves Saint Laurent outerwear items in heavier materials morph into paletot-style coats that ease downwards, combined with flute-like dresses in delicate fabrics.
The carefree flashes of transparency and unexpected footwear add lightness and femininity. Dynamic proportions are evident throughout the collection as volumes shift to create strong sloped shoulders, while brash jewellery disrupts elongated expressions. The stacks of bracelets cast in silver, gold and bronze offer another ode to the metallic finishes often seen in later Art Deco styles.
Innovation shines in masterfully produced imitation furs created by the same craftsmen who have worked with the house for years. A new, slouchier incarnation of the Saint Laurent tuxedo exudes effortless modernity as subdued matte palettes invite a moment of reflection. The Winter 2022 Saint Laurent women’s collection proves that restraint need not be joyless. A poetic showing infused with bursts of unabashed resolve, Vaccarello does well to channel the spirit of progress.