Set on the island of Isola Della Certosa in Venice, Italy, Saint Laurent's Spring/Summer 2022 men's show centers around artist Doug Aitken's Green Lens. In Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello's latest collection, Italian Renaissance motifs converse with Miami-inspired silhouettes circa 1980 in a visual discourse encompassed, of course, by the designer's signature eclectic style.
Vaccarello commissioned the Green Lens, a modern-day cornucopia lined by mirrors and filled with various plant life, to call attention to the state of nature in today's society. Early on in the pandemic when Italy was forced to shutter its borders and enforce strict lockdown orders, the respite from Venice's overtourism gave the surrounding environment a chance to heal from decades of abuse. Locals reported a clarity of water unseen in decades; dolphins made their way through the city's canals.
As the world continues to reopen, Vaccarello's new menswear collection implores viewers to consider man's harmony with the natural world. He negotiates the possibility of a life that values the environment and supports creativity, two ideas that are too often viewed as mutually exclusive.
Unlike the Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2021 men's collection which employed '80s-inspired designs in an unmistakably French package, this collection embraces its Venetian venue by featuring romantic, ruffled collars and billowing open-neck tops that look pecked straight off the cover of a period romance novel. Yet, the designer maintains the retro aesthetic with oversized white blazers à la Magnum P.I. and baggy trousers with elastic hems.
While the collection maintains the brand's time-honored (in this era, at least) pension for monochrome looks, the series of garments boasts a fair amount of color, fitting with the Italian theme. If Paris is the city of black cigarette pants and matching boatneck tops, Venice is the home of vibrant hues and passionate floral prints, another example of Vaccarello's environmentally conscious message.