Catwalk on a sand dune’s crest - Saint Laurent takes distancing in its stride

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There were no spectators, no influencers, no fashionistas, at Saint Laurent’s presentation of its 2021 Women’s Summer collection, only drone footage of models walking on the crest of a tall sand dune in the middle of a honey-colored desert.

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Every year, France’s top fashion houses compete to find the most spectacular locations in Paris to host their women’s wear shows, but with catwalks closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, brands now try to outdo each other with spectacular locations for their online-only shows.

Already in the first wave of the pandemic in April, Saint Laurent, owned by the Kering conglomerate, broke away from the usual twice-yearly calendar of women’s catwalk shows in Paris.

It revealed its latest collection on Tuesday, designed by Anthony Vaccarello, with a 10-minute Vaccarello fashion film called “I wish you were here.”

Models, some of them struggling to walk in the sand with high heels, showed off sensuous evening wear, others boardroom-ready conservative pantsuits.

The models also donned tight-fitting ribbed skirts under black leather jackets, figure-hugging black dresses with a top-to-bottom zipper, sheer halter dresses and gold-and-black brocade jackets.

The looks were interspersed with some flowing dresses with floral motives. Many models sported YSL-branded mini beltbags to match.

As night fell over the desert - Saint Laurent declined to reveal the location, only saying it was “a desert in the north” - models walked along a ridge of fire burning on the dune’s crest, the flames reflected in the evening sparkle, gold embroidery and Claude Lalanne-designed jewelry.

Saint Laurent said the film was “an invitation for escapism,” without specifying from what. From COVID-19, presumably, and from the year 2020.

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