Saint Laurent Leans Into Vintage Aesthetic with Breezy Summer Effort

April 8, 2022

French fashion house Saint Laurent is ready for the clouds to lift with a retro-inspired summer campaign.

With creative direction by Anthony Vaccarello and film direction by Juergen Teller, the summer 2022 campaign is set in Los Angeles. While the vignette does not overly rely on a narrative, it does take its cues from pop culture from the 1960s and 1970s.

“This new YSL campaign is a sartorial study of bold contrasts and taunting expectations,” said Daymon Bruck, chief creative officer at The O Group, New York.

“It’s quickly revealed this setting is not your typical Hollywood fantasy of perfection,” he said. “A gritty and raw landscape becomes the unexpected and contrasting backdrop to showcase a new collection of confident, sexy and bold pieces – all iconic YSL creative themes.”

California Girls
The film begins with a shot of a wide shot of a palm tree, contrasting against the bright blue sky. A jet plane is seen descending in the distance.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to begin our descent into Los Angeles,” a man says in a voiceover.

“The sound you have just heard is landing gear locking into place,” the offscreen pilot says. “The Los Angeles weather is clear, temperature 72.”

The announcements are the opening lines of 1967’s The Graduate, which follows the summer misadventures of the aimless Benjamin Braddock in southern California.

Mr. Teller’s direction pays tribute to the classic film, with noir-inspired shots of window blinds and wide shots of pools.

As The Graduate audio fades out, “Angie” by The Rolling Stones begins playing.

The cast – including models Awar Odhiang, Bethany Nagy, Binx Walton, Freja Beha Erichsen and Loli Bahia – poses throughout the colorful California hotel. The collection includes bold and bright pieces, including catsuits adorned with YSL initials on the bust.

Distorted audio clips from The Graduate occasional interrupt the Stones’ acoustic guitars. The campaign ends with the sounds of screeching tires from the film’s iconic closing scene.

“This new YSL campaign is a sartorial study of bold contrasts and taunting expectations,” Mr. Bruck said. “The resulting juxtaposition of a humble location with sophisticated styling delivers a campaign with some intriguing brand energy.

“This pairing of contrasts also makes the bold style of the collection stand out even further and helps to train the eye to what’s most important,” he said.

California Cool
Saint Laurent is not the only luxury label to take inspiration from classic California aesthetics in marketing efforts.

Last year, Italian fashion house Gucci paid homage to the free spirit of the West Coast through a film campaign. Shot in Southern California by Glen Luchford, the vignette featured a group of friends out and about in Los Angeles, on beaches and overlooking bright cityscapes (see story).

A 2018 Dior effort similarly embraced Hollywood glamour, tapping Academy Award winner Jennifer as the face of its Joy fragrance. The Joy campaign added an element of cool by incorporating The Rolling Stone’s “She’s a Rainbow” (see story) — another sign of luxury’s appreciation for the British rockers.

The right soundtrack can inject a campaign with a dose of personality, as shown by Saint Laurent.

“This campaign puts the ‘glam’ into ‘glamour’ by utilizing The Rolling Stone’s classic ‘Angie’ as the soundtrack, creating a clear connection to timeless rock star swagger, a fitting persona shared by both the L.A. and YSL brands,” Mr. Bruck said.

Original article published in Luxury Daily, April 8, 2022

Bethany Nagy for Saint Laurent summer 2022
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