For those who felt cheated out of their “hot vaxxed summer” by Paris’ inclement weather this year, Ludovic de Saint Sernin is planning a remedial session. Any thoughts of cold October rain evaporated in the face of a steamy lineup aptly named “Désir,” after the central character in a 15th-century tale of chivalrous love.
French painter Jean Claracq gave Désir the face of a young boxer in a painting hung on the wall of the show space — the boxer shorts later appeared on the runway in white taffeta with the flames painstakingly embroidered.
Of course, the designer’s take on what desire means took an altogether 21st-century spin. “My idea of desire evolved a lot, because I was straight, then bi, then gay,” de Saint Sernin said after a show full of slinky dresses, form-fitting separates and barely there briefs. One black pair was livened up with orange whip-stitching — a teaser for an upcoming collaboration with Pornhub, which is slated for the spring.
For more feminine looks, the ideal was “a mermaid, Californian, gothic girlfriend,” according to de Saint Sernin, with laddered looks and glittering bodices that hugged curves, paired with shoes done in collaboration with vegan footwear brand Piferi. Behind the titillating visuals, it was the handwork that stood out this season. “I feel that we were in such a digital world for a year and a half, that it was really important to me to create a collection that expressed physicality and sensuality.”
Cue heavy amounts of handcraft, including the slashed-to-threads effect on denim trousers, which came from removing the warp of the fabric, and thin bands of leather woven directly onto bodies and held together by straps and side-lacing. All begged for closer inspection, although it felt inappropriate to stare, given the skimpy outfits.
The artisanal rawness felt like a fresh development for the designer, a self-declared perfectionist. “It felt very important for me to embrace imperfection,” he said. “I’m a Virgo.”