It may be too early to call the fashion winners of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival given that there’s still nearly a week of activities left on the schedule. But, even as early as it is, I’ve gotta give it to Saint Laurent. No other brand can come close in terms of social media spread.
Cannes 2023 is a particularly big moment for Saint Laurent even beyond the clothes; the film festival marks the debut of Saint Laurent Productions, the luxury house’s new entertainment imprint.
But, really, it’s still all about the clothes. No one is dressing more big-name Cannes guests than Saint Laurent.
There’s a massive crowd of actors and musicians taking Cannes’ red carpet in sleek Saint Laurent black, from BLACKPINK member Rosé and singer Brent Faiyaz to model Iris Law and director Pedro Almodóvar, whose short film Strange Way of Life is co-produced by Saint Laurent Productions.
Co-starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal in full Saint Laurent looks, Almodóvar’s movie was personally selected by Saint Laurent Anthony Vaccarello as his house’s debut filmic project, though the fashion label has previously tapped artsy directors like Gaspar Noé to direct seasonal campaigns.
Saint Laurent Productions also helped bring a short about French director Jean-Luc Godard to Cannes 2023 but we’re not here to talk movies: let’s talk clothes.
Now, I’ll admit that most of the Saint Laurent looks have thus far haven’t knocked my socks off but that’s also not really the YSL bag.
Legions of A-listers are drawn to Vaccarello’s vision of super straightforward luxury. The creative director’s preference for uncomplicated luxury makes for a classy — if not explosive — red carpet look, typically epitomized by clean lines, calculated swathes of bare skin, and, yes, scant color.
Saint Laurent’s contemporary ready-to-wear softens the line between gendered clothing until it’s worn away almost entirely.
All of Vaccarello’s muses flit between plunging necklines, lavallières, and heeled shoes, epitomizing a louche ease that’s more sensual than sexy. Vaccarello’s work quietly explores humble self-confidence in a way that, again, doesn’t typically create capital-B Big fashion moments as some of its more trend-conscious peers.
You could argue that the Saint Laurent approach is boring, sure. Plenty of people on Twitter aren’t super impressed by its presence at Cannes 2023.
After all, compare the murdered-out YSL mob to the showstopping Alexander McQueen creation that French singer Yseult wore to Cannes.
In my book, the Saint Laurent looks do just enough to tip the scales into appreciably understated style.
The risk of flirting with so-called quiet luxury is in not doing enough to indicate actual taste but none of the Saint Laurent get-ups are actually flat-out boring.
Plus, anything to avoid talking further about Johnny Depp.