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Saint Laurent SS23 campaign
Photography David Sims

David Cronenberg is deeply thrilled to front Saint Laurent’s new campaign

The director joins Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodóvar, and Abel Ferrara who all star in the label’s SS23 advertising

Jim Jarmusch grips a safety pin and etches some dark lettering onto the surface of a desk while Pedro Almodóvar stares into the barrel of the camera and assumes one of those power poses beloved of self-help gurus. Abel Ferrara claws at his face in creative disdain. Having presumably observed the furore that surrounded Prada’s AW22 show (which transported cult, septuagenarian actors like Jeff Goldblum and Kyle MacLachlan onto its intergalactic runway) Anthony Vaccarello has now turned the camera onto the film industry’s most chin-strokey directors for his SS23 campaign at Saint Laurent

Shot by David Sims, the whole thing is a brooding, monochromatic portrait of a bi-coastal, silver-haired artist who likes to wear thick-rimmed glasses – like David Cronenburg. Sharpened shoulders, deep-necked Le Smokings, and swollen faux-fur jackets key into that louche, 80s attitude that collected on the sandbanks of Marrakech when the brand debuted its SS23 offering in July. Though it would have been easy to approach the collection with a tourist’s gaze – all djellabas, Moroccan tiling, and fatigued linens – Vaccarello travelled through his adolescence spent as an indie kid on Antwerp’s fashion scene (which is probably around the time he also became familiar with the work of Jarmusch, Almodóvar, Ferrara, and Cronenburg). 

There was an appropriately cinematic mood to that show, too, which climaxed beneath an LED installation designed by Es Devlin – inspired by Paul Bowles’ 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky – rising up from a circular lagoon to illuminate the desert like the Eye of Sauron. Though there are clear links between the current menswear and womenswear operations at Saint Laurent (a chic, rich bitch coupledom) the SS23 campaigns draw a line in the sand: the women’s imprint has quietly returned to Saint Laurent’s 1961 logo, where the menswear imagery still feels indebted to the cool froideur of Hedi Slimane’s tenure at the brand. Click through the gallery above to see the rest of the Director’s Cut campaign, and watch the accompanying Jim Jarmusch video above.