Saint Laurent Brings Vanessa Beecroft’s Army of Bodies to Miami

Anthony Vaccarello, the brains behind Saint Laurent, doesn’t like limits. “I don’t understand why fashion should be intellectual, or sexy, without anything in-between,” said the label’s creative director. “The Saint Laurent woman does not need to be one or the other; she can be everything.”

Vaccarello’s focus on the concept of the self, in all its multitudes—self-presentation, self-exposure, self-deprecation—led him to tap Vanessa Beecroft, the performance artist famous for her armies of frozen-in-place female bodies, for his company’s latest project.

Fittingly titled SELF, the collaboration, which will be on view this Saturday through December 15th, is part of Vaccarello’s effort to showcase his favorite artists in a public, outdoor space—in this case, the Miami Design District, just in time for Art Basel. Beecroft is a natural fit for the project; she has built a career framing the female form as an instrument of confrontation.

SELF02, as it’s called, will feature a series of large-scale portraits by Beecroft, taken immediately after Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2019 show. A cadre of models stand, with slicked-back hair and black bodysuits, atop the water-finished runway, flanked by white palm trees before a lucent Eiffel Tower. They are a series of limbs and bug-eyed shades, ghostly figures against the black cloak of Paris by night.

The melding of Saint Laurent’s legacy and Beecroft’s confrontational eye speaks to the project’s interest in the full spectrum of female identity. “This house has a history—a powerful, feminine, urban and fantasized image,” Vaccarello said. “I am extremely lucky to be free.”