Fashion

Saint Laurent Fall 2020: Power Dressing, But Make It Latex

The French house used the skintight material to construct an image of discipline and pleasure
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Ask someone to describe the Saint Laurent Fall 2020 collection in one word, and most people would probably land upon "latex". Of course, there's actually a lot more to discuss when it comes to the characteristically bold Parisian brand's latest collection, but the skin-tight material was the true star of the show. Pairing it with lace and cashmere and using it for everything from dresses to leggings to thigh-high boots, Anthony Vaccarello made a strong case for the versatility of latex in a collection that was '90s-inspired but felt thoroughly modern.

In a press release explaining the concept, Saint Laurent touched upon its turn-of-the-millennium oeuvre, which focused on bourgeois elegance for the young person who explores the world in between well-mannered girls and bad boys (read: the predecessor to cool teens like Kaia Gerber, who obviously walked the show). The collection was all about risk-taking, so it made sense that most looks made good use of a fabric that no one can ignore, and thus has made its way into every level of the industry, from accessible going-out labels to luxury houses like YSL itself. There's something democratic about latex — it comes in many forms, all of which push the wearer's boundaries while encouraging pure confidence — though as anyone who has worn it knows, it also requires commitment as it fits like a second skin. Naturally, Vaccarello was considering both sides of this by exploring the relationship between discipline and pleasure, because doesn't everything come back to that? In going-out culture, street style, or even workplace dressing, there's something about the adrenaline rush of finally taking a long-considered style risk.

Now, rest assured — both those looking to style a full Saint Laurent Fall 2020 look and those a bit nervous about wearing latex at all — there were plenty of other materials and pieces in the collection, both showing the starring fabric's potential to fit any situation and giving you some other routes to the boundary-pushing '90s confidence Vaccarello was trying to evoke. Let us count some ways: oversized outerwear, lace, some incredibly chic scarves, tailoring, a healthy dose of leather, and the strong shoulders trending across the industry all added to the cool agenda. During the leggings-as-pants craze a few years back, we all learned pretty quickly that an oversized jacket helped to pull the look together whenever we weren't headed to pilates, and the same is happening here with the latex pants — in cheerful colours (think red and purple) and styled just right, one might argue it even could make sense in the office if you work in a creative enough field. It's also easy these days to (quite literally) dip your toes into this moment via latex boots, which felt sophisticated alongside airy dresses and edgy tailoring thanks to the expert craftsmanship.

We'll have to wait and see whether this motif catches on (will we all be wearing a bold second skin next fashion month?), but Saint Laurent Fall 2020 definitely made a compelling argument for reintroducing latex to the centre of fashion, all while finding a way to reimagine its mostly black aesthetic in a way that will literally shine as a cool crowd adopts it in Paris and beyond. One thing's for sure: the line between edgy nightlife and mainstream sophistication is no longer so cut and dry, and Vaccarello is leading the pack.

See all the looks in the collection below: 

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