Saint Laurent quits Paris season in shock decision, plans own schedule
The house of Saint Laurent announced Monday morning that it will quit the official Paris runway season in September in a shock decision, and revealed that it is planning its own schedule – at least for 2020.
“Conscious of the current circumstance and its waves of radical change, Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” the house said in a surprise statement.
Its sudden move comes one month after the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM), French fashion’s governing body, cancelled the Paris menswear season, scheduled for June, in the wake of Covid-19. The FHCM also announced that the next Paris womenswear catwalk season, due to begin in late September, would instead be a co-ed season.
For the past several seasons, ever since designer Anthony Vaccarello joined Saint Laurent in 2016, the house has staged giant and lengthy co-ed shows runway shows on huge stages on the opposite bank side of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, menswear often taking up the second half of each show.
“Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm, legitimating the value of time and connecting with people globally by getting closer to them in their own space and lives,” added Saint Laurent, one of the key luxury fashion houses controlled by Kering, the world’s second-largest luxury group.
“With this strategy firmly in place, Saint Laurent will not present its collections in any of the pre-set schedules of 2020. Saint Laurent will take ownership of its calendar and launch its collections following a plan conceived with an up-to-date perspective, driven by creativity,” it added. However, the brand didn't indicate what it might be planning in terms of timing or location of its next runway event.
This decision is doubly shocking in view of the fact that Saint Laurent’s CEO, Italian-born Francesca Bellettini, is also the president of the FHCM’s womenswear division. Hence the fact that by cancelling its Paris season, Saint Laurent isn't exactly instilling a vote of confidence in the future for the French capital. It also presents a real risk of a chain reaction, as other top brands will also “take ownership” of their own calendars and decide not to stage runway shows this fall in the French capital. Given the lavish nature of the Saint Laurent show, this decision will also be seen as a significant cost-cutting move.
Saint Laurent has been skipping the official Paris menswear season for several years now. Back in June 2019, Saint Laurent decamped to Los Angeles with its summer 2020 collection, staging a show on Malibu Beach, before the likes of Keanu Reeves and Miley Cyrus. A collection inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s halcyon days in Marrakech, reimagined for 21st century Los Angeles. A year earlier, Belgium-born Vaccarello showed its menswear collection in New York.
France has been in lockdown since Tuesday, March 17, a period that President Emmanuel Macron later extended to Monday, May 11. After that date, France currently plans to gradually ease restrictions. Schools are due to reopen, but restaurants, cafés, hotels, cinemas and other leisure activities will remain closed.
The FHCM could not be reached for comment, though Bellettini is understood to have informed the organization ahead of today’s announcement.
The FHCM, which controls the haute couture, womenswear and menswear seasons in Paris, the pre-eminent catwalk city of the world, has already indicated that it will shortly make an announcement about a new form of digital presentations in the future in Paris.
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