Wednesday 9th September

| BY Paul Toner

Saint Laurent: Menswear SS21

The last ‘proper’ Paris Fashion Week –  you know, the type where everyone’s smushed together across tiny rows? – took place back in March. Although this was a mere seven months ago, those cramped catwalks, fancy dinners and glamorous afterparties feel a world away from the one we currently inhabit. A world where we brushed knees, gave kisses to both cheeks and foolishly giggled at the prospect of having to wear a mask. How nieve we all were.

Currently, the world awaits the imminent possibility of a second global lockdown. Just yesterday evening, it was announced groups larger than six wouldn’t be allowed to gather here in the UK in the government’s latest attempt to stop another nationwide spread of Coronavirus. Once more, this fear looms over another season of fashion shows – with the womenswear spring/summer 2021 collections set to kick off this Sunday at New York Fashion Week.

This makes the return to the fashion industry as we once knew it all that foggier. Will socially distanced shows be able to take place in London? Will fashion week exhibitions still happen in Paris? Only time will tell. Instead, many big-name houses are using this frantic state of fashion flux to reject industry norms completely.

Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent is one of these designers spearheading change. Back in April, the Parisian house announced it will not present its collections “in any of the pre-set schedules of 2020.” The brave move from the Kering-owned giant was swayed by a decision to take back control of its annual calendar, following the brand’s own plan which will be driven by an up-to-date, creative perspective.

Today Vaccarello debuted the first chapter in Saint Laurent’s thrilling new journey. Dubbed No Matter How Long The Night Is, the designer released his SS21 menswear collection through a six-minute blockbuster. Directed by Nathalie Canguilhem, the film follows a group of free-runners who fly across the architectures of New York, Beijing and Paris.

In the epic sequence of events, the Saint Laurent boys are heroic in their capabilities. As they dive between buildings, scale fences and smash through the roof of the Grand Palais – done with CGI, of course – their superhero uniforms rotate between glistening suits, sleeveless boilersuits and an overall looser silhouette from Vaccarello this time around.

The pack’s journey comes to an end with a catwalk that takes place suspended on the actual Eiffel Tower. Throughout his tenure at house, Vaccarello has made it a regular fixture for this spectacular monument to play a central role in his larger-than-life fashion shows – this is a groundbreaking next step. Would a creative task this grand be able to take place at your average Paris Fashion Week? Most definitely not. This gang of Saint Laurent superheroes have done the unthinkable.