The 60s were an era of anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that developed throughout much of the Western world and much as the age of Beat counter-culture provided the muse for Anthony Vaccarello for his fall 2020 Saint Laurent menswear, the collection felt less like a reminder of Beat cultural elements and its categorical rejection of standard narrative values and economic materialism and more ironically a nod to the cool, kitschy crossroads of 1950s classicism and early socio-cultural rebellion.
It’s true, classic tailoring and double breasted cuts have returned strongly for men; the Saint Laurent Fall 2020 menswear is no different but perhaps, more suited in terms of the utilitarian look and emphasis on functionality as a result of the many crises that have enveloped the mid two quarters of 2020; with no hint to an abatement of the existential crisis, Vaccarello’s inspiration and the resulting Saint Laurent Fall 2020 menswear collection is best explained in his words: “Even with what happened to the world, [this look] is always relevant as [it’s] a simple and functional silhouette.”
Indeed, Vaccarello takes worsted wool double breasted jackets and pairs them with worn denims, creating a boyish countenance, a masculinity that falls on a side of youthful innocence rather than cynical toxicity – if the Saint Laurent Fall 2020 menswear collection could be embodied in a person: it’s more Henry Cavil’s Clark Kent than Henry Cavil’s jaded Witcher; it cleans up nicely but also, even when dirtied down, it’s kinda hot.
Vaccarello’s deft streetwear sensitivities takes the best of Saint Laurent’s aesthetics and infused with contemporary relevance, recalls the legacy of the storied house without descending into the uncomfortable territory of a forced homage of its heritage. A modern sensibility, the kind of menswear that Yves Saint Laurent himself might have worn himself, unfussy yet polished, classic yet iconoclastic, it’s a sophisticated rebellion of leather aviator jacket with tailored and tapered dress pants.
Channelling artist and icon, Serge Gainsbourg, the Parisian counterpart to the New York Beatniks, Vaccarello said, “I’m a big fan of Serge Gainsbourg,” describing the Saint Laurent Fall 2020 menswear collection “like an obsession for me to always start with the feeling of a pinstriped jacket with blue denim, a khaki shirt, and classic shoes. I will never be tired of that way [of his] to wear clothes…nonchalance but extreme taste in the details.”