Esquire Examines: Saint Laurent AW24

In a relatively surprise showing a week after its womenswear show, the Saint Laurent Winter 2024 man was covered up but still all kinds of sexy
Published: 6 March 2024

The Saint Laurent Winter 2024 runway show was a departure from its Summer 2024 one, but only conceptually. Saint Laurent doesn't shy away from the duality of the male spirit. It's apparent in the House's throng of global famous faces adopted into its fold—from rock legend Lenny Kravitz to younger upstarts the likes of Austin Butler, Mark Tuan, and Ten Lee of NCT U—who all, while exuding an air of elegance, are more than stereotypical masculine tropes.

Creative director Anthony Vaccarello has been reiterating Saint Laurent's masculine-feminine tension for a few seasons now. While typically shown during different fashion week calendars, the womenswear and menswear collections have effectively been mirror images of each other. There's been a consistency in aesthetic where Vaccarello would borrow womenswear silhouettes and fabrications for menswear, while the latter's cut would dictate the form of the womenswear collections.

For Winter 2024, the menswear show was somewhat of a surprise. Instead of showing during January's Paris Fashion Week Men's or completely off schedule (like Summer 2024's in Berlin), the Saint Laurent Winter 2024 show was about a week apart from the womenswear show—further blurring the lines between the two. But the actual surprise was the collection itself. After seasons of embodying a softer side of the Saint Laurent man, Vaccarello opted to switch things up at Paris' Bourse de Commerce (also the site of one of my personal favourite runway shows by the creative director).

The fit: Right from the first look, there was little doubt that the collection wouldn't be following a similar formula of collections prior. It was classic, almost too classic, veering on old-school. A grey double-breasted suit paired with a white shirt and (gasp!) a striped tie of significant width. There was a decidedly '80s feel to the entire ensemble but perhaps only on first glance. The wide, peak lapels of the blazer were matched in intensity with the shirt collar. Yet there were nuances of contemporary flair: the overall silhouette was still very languid and soft with a strong-shoulder anchor; the blazer was cut straight with a deliciously roomy give; and while still respecting the traditional rule of a peek of shirt cuff under the blazer, sleeves were lengthened just enough to strike away any old-school notion.

This classic-made-new combination continued on throughout the entire Winter 2024 collection. There were a few outerwear-focused looks interspersed—the liquid-like rubber propositions looked otherworldly—but the main star was the gradual dissolution of the formality of that very first look. As the show went on, the suit became lighter and more fluid both in construction as well as colours, while shirts returned to their Saint Laurent-silk normality with matching ties.

The details: The aforementioned rubber outerwear weren't just for mere drama. Vaccarello reimagined a '60s archival reference with a structured rubber peacoat worn with a leather hat that it's connected to (look 7). Beautiful things can indeed be functional.

If you were missing the silk blouses—seen aplenty on the front row—Vaccerello offered up a number in rich hues that echoed the tail end of the line-up. Although if you were looking out for classic Saint Laurent pointed boots and footwear, they were replaced with square-toed variants that added so much gravitas.

Three exceptional looks: Look 14's all-black drama punctuated by that rubber coat; look 28's sublime colour combination; and an olive green version in look 37 that I would've never considered up till now.

The takeaway: Covered up as compared to previous collections yes, but the Saint Laurent man is still as sexy as Vaccarello has made him to be.

View the full Saint Laurent Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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