Es Devlin creates illuminated monolithic ring for Saint Laurent show in Moroccan desert
A glowing metal ring designed by set designer Es Devlin framed fashion house Saint Laurent's Spring Summer 2023 menswear show in the Moroccan desert.
Saint Laurent's Spring Summer 2023 menswear show was set 30 kilometres outside of Marrakech in the middle of the Agafay desert.
Anthony Vaccarello, the brand's creative director, looked to pay tribute to the significance of Marrakech as a location for Saint Laurent founder Yves Saint Laurent, who used to come to the country to find respite from Parisian work and living.
The show space itself, created by London-based artist and set designer Devlin, was a monolithic and glowing oasis that Saint Laurent explained referenced Paul Bowles' 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky.
Devlin created a mirror-clad colonnade that surrounded rows of dusty red, stone-like stools created by local artisans, as well as a circular oasis-cum-pond at the centre of the show space.
Guests sat facing the peaked desert in the distance, while the sand dune vista became clouded by artificial mist that rose from the ground at the edge of the setting as the show commenced.
Models circled the Devlin-designed circular pond in the sharp tailoring that is synonymous with Saint Laurent. The show nodded to Vaccarello's Autumn Winter 2022 power-dressing womenswear collection, which was shown at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
As the show drew to an end, a perforated metal ring – illuminated across its inner edge – rose from the rounded pond, twisting, spinning and emitting the same artificial mist that clouded the event space.
"An awe-inspiring set in the middle of Agafay desert – a ring-shaped luminous oasis amid the vast, arid unknown," said Saint Laurent of the show's set design.
"Hope and mystery juxtaposed as a metaphor for life's fascinating complexity."
The French fashion house explained that it employed a number of steps to reduce the show's environmental impact and achieve carbon neutrality.
In the run-up to the show, environmental experts conducted a series of studies to protect the site's biodiversity, while also donating materials and equipment used in the show to local organisations.
Non-potable water was used within the circular pond. After the event, this is set to be reused in agricultural projects around Agafay, including for irrigation purposes on olive tree farms.
"The carbon footprint of the event is calculated and all greenhouse gas emissions are offset through verified REDD+ projects which not only conserve critical forests and biodiversity but also support the livelihoods of local communities," said the brand.
"In addition, we will support locally the high atlas foundation fruit tree planting program benefiting Moroccan families' livelihoods."
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At Paris Fashion Week, production studio Villa Eugénie created a replica of Christian Dior's childhood home and a garden with 19,000 flowers for Dior's Spring Summer 2023 menswear show.
Photography is courtesy of Saint Laurent.