The stamp of Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent is a kind of pointy insouciance—black cigarette jeans, a killer tuxedo, a patent leather trench.
Cumulatively, these elements seem diametrically opposed to something like the Memphis Milano movement, which celebrates all the colors in between Saint Laurent’s beloved blacks, moody blues, and neutrals—and all things misshapen, squiggly, and soft.
But in a surprising move, the Paris-based brand has released a capsule collection of clothes, accessories, and homeware (including glasses, ceramics, and books) that celebrates all things Memphis.
The project was done on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Memphis Group.
Masanori Umeda’s 1981 RING. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
Vaccarello chose to celebrate the debut by hosting an exhibition of iconic Memphis works at the Saint Laurent Rive Droite shops in Paris and in Los Angeles, featuring Masanori Umeda’s RING bed, Ettore Sottsass’s CARLTON room divider, and RIVIERA chairs by Michele De Lucchi.
“I’ve always been attracted by the distinctive non-ordinary forms of Memphis artworks; their colorful and playful design breaks the standard rules,” Vaccarello told Vogue.
“Memphis was ahead of its time. [Its] design mocks its serious ambitions, reversing common preconceptions with irony.”
Sottsass’s Ashoka Table Lamp. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
The show will be on view through June 23 in both stores, each of which will be filled with homages to Sottsass, who is perhaps the most eminent Memphis designer and whose work has experienced a mini-boom in the design world in recent years.
Though the Memphis Group worked together for only a short time, from 1980 to 1987, its bombastic influence has spread far and wide over the years—even to self-professed Minimalists like Vaccarello.
See more photos of the collection and exhibition below.
Sotssass’s CARLTON Bookcase. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
The RIVIERA Chair by Lucchi. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
A chair in the Saint Lauren Memphis exhibition. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
A closeup of Umeda’s RING. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
A Memphis vase at Saint Laurent. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
A floor lamp by Ettore Sottsass at Saint Laurent Rive Droite. Photo courtesy Saint Laurent.
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