Saint Laurent strides into the new year with a stunning, hedonistic, fever dream of a film that sets a high bar for branded fashion films for 2019 while simultaneously not shying away from being provocative in this ‘conservative’ moment.
Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello once again teams up with Director Nathalie Canguilhem, who has worked with the house since 2016. Canguilhem began her career as a fashion writer moving on to style for Nick Knight, Juergen Teller and Jean-Baptiste Mondino before taking up the camera herself. That understanding bodes well for the director whose work really shines in here in the Spring 2019 #YSL20 film filled with slow motion segments, stellar lighting, and fluid slow pans.
The centerpiece of the film is the obsession and sexual longing between actor Caleb Landry Jones, of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and model Mica Argañaraz. The film opens with Jones pining for Argañaraz in Sicily, Italy, at the Grande Cretto of Gibellina created by Alberto Burri. The monument stands on the ruins of the town of Gibellina which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. The structure was built as a memorial to the town and is comprised of giant white concrete blocks that are 1.60 meters high (~5 feet). The cracks between the blocks create maze-like pathways which Canguilhem uses to full advantage filming a black motorcycle, a black stallion and numerous cast members running through the maze to represent energy, longing, and desire.
The scenery cuts between the Grande Cretto and a hedonistic rock-n-roll rave held at a mansion packed with revelers straight out of Fiona Apples, 1996 Criminal video. Obsessive gazes, dancing, dips in the pool lead to undertones of threesomes, jealously, and desire.
Seasoned stylist Alastair McKimm leverages the cast, which also includes Kaia Gerber, Kiki Willems, Luka Isaac, Nataliya Bulycheva, and Paul Hameline to full potential. DJ/musician Sebastian Akchotér sets the perfect score for the 3:30 piece. But it is really the direction and editing efforts of Canguilhem that shines here, knowing just how to draw in the viewer and leverage the dramatic addition of Caleb Landry Jones.
The piece ends on the note of a dream, which is likely what Vaccarello and the Saint Laurent team envisioned when they enlisted Canguilhem. A crazy, successful, dream of a film that spoke to aspirational longing and desire. As Saint Laurent is all about putting on the night.
Saint Laurent Creative Director | Anthony Vaccarello Director | Nathalie Canguilhem Talent | Caleb Landry Jones Models | Kaia Gerber, Kiki Willems, Luka Isaac, Mica Argañaraz, Nataliya Bulycheva, & Paul Hameline Stylist | Alastair McKimm Hair | Duffy Makeup | Kanako Takase Casting Directors | Piergiorgio Del Moro & Samuel Ellis Scheinman Soundtrack | Sebastian Akchotér Location | Grande Cretto of Gibellina created by Alberto Burri, Sicily, Italy