For SS22, Ludovic de Saint Sernin presents Désir, a sartorial exploration of the slow smoulder of desire. Taking its name from a central character in René d’Anjou’s Livre du Cœur d’amour épris – a 15th-century tale of chivalric love – the collection echoes those feelings of all-consuming lust and yearning that we all know well.
A cornerstone of this season’s narrative is the result of a collaboration with French painter Jean Claracq, whose oeuvre exists in a constant dialogue between the canon of figurative painting and the contemporary queer visual vernaculars of apps such Instagram and Grindr. Born of a vision of Désir reimagined today as a plucky young boxer, here, his work translates to delicate, gradated embroideries of flickering flames on white taffeta boxer shorts – a first foray into artisanal needlework techniques for the label.
Elsewhere the slow burn of passion informs the palette of sandy écru and beige, earthen brown and basalt black, all inspired by the volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote. Menswear looks take on a dark, gothy timbre, while womenswear silhouettes suggest a svelte, delicate femininity — the sugar-sweet girlfriend to this season’s brooding bad boy. Trousers in finely-smocked silk hug her leg and pool at the ankle like the foam of a crashing wave, and a single-strapped dress made from crystals kindly donated by Swarovski clings to her body like the scales of a mermaid’s tail. Elsewhere the designer’s longstanding partnership with the Austrian crystal makers results in choker-halter dresses and tops composed of hanging strands, abbreviated pareos, and gleaming collars.
A further collaboration comes by way of the label’s first three footwear styles – a flat sandal, a kitten heel, and a stiletto – created with Italian shoemakers Pīferi. Crafted from vegan leather in tones mirroring the collection’s, cords wind around the foot to yield sensuous, barely-there silhouettes, a sensibility echoed in this season’s leatherwork. A testament to de Saint Sernin’s commitment to couture-level craftsmanship, close-fitting bandeau tops and dresses are composed of thin bands of supple lambskin in beige and chocolate brown, and are held together by intricately hand-braided straps and side-lacing.
Fan favourites return, too – an eyelet-bordered trench appears in raw silk, and the designer’s iconic lace-up briefs, thongs, and bras return in swimwear iterations. This season, they’re complemented by gently-flared trousers in the same poly swim fabric, resulting in full siren-like looks worn as easily on land as in water. These pieces will be available to purchase from the moment they’re seen on the runway, a decision motivated by the success of the swim line the label launched this summer.
Amid this season’s underwear offering, a black thong with flame orange lacing nods to a forthcoming capsule collection with adult content platform Pornhub, the proud sponsors of today’s show. Built on shared values of sex positivity, inclusivity, and future-forward thinking, the partnership is a reflection of de Saint Sernin’s of bringing together worlds once kept apart. “Ludovic de Saint Sernin is a creative marvel that continues to smash the boundaries of fashion through his daring and truth-inspired designs,” Pornhub concur. “He is the exact type of artist that Pornhub supports — a progressive innovator that jettisons the traditional tropes of fashion and brings an inclusive take to the industry that changes it for the better.”
All images courtesy of Ludovic de Saint Sernin
PR Agency Lucien Pages Communication