Does Saint Laurent’s increasingly prominent signature style challenge its status as a purveyor of “stealth wealth”?
What comes to mind when Saint Laurent is mentioned? Its global ambassador Rosé? Its iconic skinny jeans? Or perhaps its signature style that can be described as a potpourri of androgyny, elegance, sophistication and rock ‘n’ roll edge? The possible recollections are endless, which goes to show that the YSL has left an indelible imprint in the fashion world; even if the modern incarnation of the House attempts to shed its historical acronym.
At Saint Laurent, there also exists a perception linking the fashion house to “stealth wealth” (a concept referring to a style of luxury consumption that is understated and not immediately recognisable as expensive or high-end) despite appearing splashy at first glance. This is all thanks to its affinity for all-black enigmatic ensembles that embody a discreet opulence and its focus on quality over conspicuous branding.
For years, Saint Laurent’s monochromatic palette have stood as a symbol of refined sophistication. With careful craftsmanship and attention to detail, the brand embraced the power of subtlety, allowing individuals to exude wealth without overtly flaunting it. All- black ensembles became a signature, conveying a mysterious appeal that whispered luxury rather than shouting it.
However, the brand’s increasingly robust and pervasive identity, which is poised to gain even more popularity, raises the question of whether Saint Laurent can maintain its association with stealth wealth.
From red carpets to high-profile events, the brand’s glamorous if dark designs have become omnipresent. The once-subtle message of stealth wealth becomes more diluted as the allure of Saint Laurent’s unmistakable all-black looks reaches a wider audience through social media. What was once a symbol of discreet prosperity is slowly transforming into a universal uniform, instantly recognisable and lacking the enigmatic quality that once shrouded it. The appeal of exclusivity diminishes as the all-black aesthetic becomes commonplace – the antithesis of luxury.
As the symbol of silent elegance inevitably becomes a ubiquitous statement, it is vital to explore the concept’s evolving definition. Can discreet opulence coexist with a more pronounced aesthetic? Perhaps the answer lies in realising that stealth wealth isn’t a collection of unidentifiable garments but a state of mind of not actively seeking attention in one’s ensemble.
(Images: Saint Laurent FW23)