Saint Laurent is sitting out Paris Fashion Week

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change the face of fashion presentation, the house has announced that it will be showing on its own terms.

by Mahoro Seward
27 April 2020, 12:33pm

Saint Laurent SS20. Photography Mitchell Sams

When the most recent fashion month came to a close in early March, concerned whispers about the coronavirus taking hold in Europe could already be heard -- foreboding headlines had started to emerge from Milan, with Giorgio Armani even live streaming their presentation from an empty venue. As the stages in Paris had already been set, the shows went on. But there was something in the water all the while -- a sense that this string of fashion weeks would be the last as we know them for some time.

Fast forward almost two months and that cautious inkling has become a cold, hard fact. From the outright cancellations of Paris’ upcoming menswear and couture weeks to the British Fashion council’s announcement of a digital, gender-neutral platform in the place of physical iterations in June and September, the natural order of fashion presentation is morphing before our eyes.

Individual brands are taking how and when they present their work into their own hands, too. Today, Saint Laurent has announced that it will be foregoing its usual spot on the Paris Fashion Week calendar, instead choosing to present work at its own pace at least until the end of the year. As scandalous an announcement as it may seem, it’s not necessarily a new move for the brand. Since 2017, for example, Anthony Vaccarello has not presented his menswear collections on the city’s official week, instead opting for destination shows like last year’s SS20 presentation on a dusky Malibu beach.

“It’s about being positive, not passive,” Anthony told WWD of the house’s decision. “We have known for years that something has to change. The time is now. There is no good reason to follow a calendar developed years ago when everything was completely different. I don’t want to rush a collection just because there is a deadline. This season, I want to present a collection when I am ready to show it.”

Though Saint Laurent has yet to announce what its self-determined presentation strategy will look like, they’re keen to underscore that the decision is in no way an indication of a departure from the French capital, the city it’s called home since it was founded 1961. “This is not a goodbye to Paris Fashion Week, but a change that we feel is necessary in this moment and in these exceptional circumstances,” explains Francesca Bellettini, Saint Laurent’s CEO.

Saint Laurent
Paris Fashion Week
anthony vaccarello