Saint Laurent may not be staging its customary fashion show at the foot of the Eiffel Tower this Paris Fashion Week, but the video presentation for its spring 2021 men’s collection went one step further, culminating with models walking a raised runway wrapped around the French landmark.
The brand declined to say whether the spectacular images were the result of special-effects wizardry, or whether it received clearance to erect the temporary structure — although the former seems more likely, given the budgetary and logistical restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s not the only breathtaking backdrop featured in the six-minute video, which showcases models performing the sort of rooftop acrobatics normally seen in action movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” — or among aficionados of parkour, the urban obstacle course run made popular by France’s Yamakasi team.
Dressed in rolled-up pants, tailored jackets with slim shawl collars and fluttery printed shirts, the models darted across shingled rooftops in Beijing, soared between New York City skyscrapers, and generally treated Paris like a giant playground, whether perching atop the Sacré-Coeur at night or crashing through the glass roof of the Grand Palais in slow motion.
Titled “No Matter How Long the Night Is,” the short film directed by Nathalie Canguilhem was a dazzling illustration of the powers of the digital medium, and almost enough to make you forget about the clothes — though the house made sure to provide plenty of detailed imagery in its electronic press kit.
It was part of an elaborate rollout that also included billboards in New York and Los Angeles; fly posters in Paris and Tokyo; 3-D lenticular images; hidden stickers; a music playlist, and an augmented reality filter.
Creative director Anthony Vaccarello stuck to Saint Laurent’s California-inspired aesthetic with items like printed and embroidered bomber jackets, updated Hawaiian shirts and acid-washed denim Bermuda shorts, preferably worn with a bare chest and lanky surfer locks.
A kimono style jacket in a leopard and palm leaf print added a subtle Pacific twist, complementing the fluid proportions of streamlined black coats layered over floral-printed shirts — but mostly Vaccarello stuck to classic off-duty rock star staples like skinny suits with cropped pants, satiny shirts and wide-brimmed straw hats.
In lieu of its usual VIP front row, the short film featured cameos by brand ambassador Charlotte Gainsbourg and American actor Justice Smith, best known for his appearances in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Pokémon Detective Pikachu.”
While few things match the magic of watching the Eiffel Tower light up in real life, at this point in time, a virtual romp across the city’s skyline feels just as thrilling.