Inside Saint Laurent’s Alluring New Photography Exhibit

Anthony Vaccarello’s latest project sees a host of photographers from around the world exhibiting their work in Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai


As part of Saint Laurentis in progress Self project – where creative director Anthony Vaccarello invites a series of renowned artists to “capture different aspects of the personality of Saint Laurent” – the French house is now organizing a series of exhibitions in six major cities as part of its latest project , Self 07. In the past, Vaccarello has employed filmmakers such as Bret Easton Ellis, Gaspar Noé (whose feature film for Saint Laurent starred Charlotte Gainsbourg and was selected by Cannes) and Wong Kar-wai to work on film projects for the home.

Presenting in Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai, six image makers – including Magnum guest photographers Takashi Homma, Daesung Lee and Birdhead – have each created a series of images responding to the dark and sleek glamor of the Saint Laurent de Vaccarello, traveling to city streets, airports and the Tokyo metropolis to photograph their subjects.

At the London observation point, the British photographer Oliver Arthur presented a series of sumptuous black and white images of women dressed in Saint Laurent’s signature sharp suits. “The strength of women is the key to the feeling of Saint Laurent and that’s the part that attracts me,” she explains. As an image maker, Arthur focuses on the body and “people and their personal cultural identities”, with her understated and tender portraits of people in their homes.

Here, in his own words, Arthur tells the story of his participation in Saint Laurent’s latest project.

“I was born in London and although I have lived in many different places in my life, deep down I am a Londoner. I am a documentary photographer with a practice centered on people and their personal and cultural identities. Over the past few years I have worked a lot on the body, on physicality and the strange influences of technology and nature on the way we exist. I wanted to find a way to connect this project to a continuation of this work and use the opportunity to work with models to push the feelings of weirdness, weirdness and the connections between us, nature and man. The title of my project So not if is a reference to those blurred lines between what we know to be real and the things we can’t quite make out.

“I think strength and especially the strength of women is the key to the Saint Laurent feeling and that’s what attracts me. Throughout my work, I have always photographed women from different backgrounds and cultures and it has always been essential for me to show their strengths and that they make the most of the limits that society can impose on them. Beauty in physical and emotional strength – rather than fragility – is key to my work and I also believe what makes Saint Laurent important.

“Portraiture is a big part of my job, and this process of making portraits is all about bringing out the personality of the subject. I wanted to take this approach to the fashion shoot and work with the models like real people, seeking to bring out their personality. I worked with two locations – one was in an old Victorian hospital.

“In the images we see the models not alone but engaging, interacting with each other and with the physical environments around them, both man-made and natural. I would like people to see this work as physical, playful and just a bit surreal.There is an expression of touch, of the physicality of the connection between the models and the world around them. While the models are beautiful and the images somewhat seductive, there is also a strong sense of self-expression of physical and emotional strength. which can attract the viewer and raise some of the questions around the real and the surreal.

The St. Lawrence Self 07 from June 9 to 12 simultaneously in Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai.

Tracey L. Sweeney