Within the fevered imagination, lifelong devotion to art, and guarded private universe of Yves Saint Laurent, the style knownas Art Deco occupied a special place. One of his earliest, most prized acquisitions for his personal collection of objectswas a pair of Dunand vases originally exhibited in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs.
The modernistinteriors Jean-Michel Frank designed for avant-garde patrons in the 1930s profoundly impacted how Yves decorated hisParis residence decades later. Few traces of Art Deco, however, could be found in the designer’s runway collections.The radical elan of Art Deco permeates the Winter 2022 Saint Laurent women’s collection. The reference is not literal,informing the show more in essence and overall outline than in direct quotations.
Nancy Cunard, the independent-mindedactivist publisher who dressed audaciously ahead of her time –giving a masculine wardrobe her own indelible imprint–served as a guiding template. Anthony Vaccarello found a way to take Cunard’s intrepid ethos and embed it resolutely inour current moment.
To achieve this, signature pieces of the house take on a dramatic new shape enveloping a long fluidline underneath.The considered silhouette is defined by tension : key Yves Saint Laurent outerwear items in denser materials morphinto paletot-style coats that attenuate downward, paired with flute-like dresses in delicate fabrics.
Fluttering flashes oftransparency and unexpected footwear add lightness. Fresh proportions are seen throughout, as volume is shifted for astrong sloped shoulder, while a thin elongated impression is interrupted with brash, elemental jewelry : stacks of braceletscast in silver, gold and bronze.Innovation is evident in master imitation furs produced by the same craftsmen that have worked with the house in the past,and in a new, slouchier incarnation of the Saint Laurent tuxedo.
A subdued matte palette hints at a moment of reflection.Proving that restraint need not bejoyless, this is a quietly poetic showing, shot through with bursts of unabashed resolveand verve.