Ludovic de Saint Sernin Is Giving School Girl Gone Bad for SS23

Ludovic de Saint Sernin‘s SS23 runway show, “MIRAGE,” was a dreamscape of raw, queer sexuality born in the hedonistic sanctums of Berlin’s megaclubs. On Thursday, in a warehouse flanked by crumbling brick, muscular models from across the gender spectrum strutted down a make-shift catwalk in lace-fly pleated micro-miniskirts, shimmering mesh bralettes, and ass-baring laddered jeans. The opening look, a crisp oxford paired with supple calfskin trousers, was an homage to one of Saint Sernin’s earliest inspirations, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Like the best of the latter’s work, Saint Sernin’s fifth collection—one that marked the brand’s transition from industry arrivé to emerging fashion house—was a celebration of the body and savoir-faire eroticism. After the show, Mel Ottenberg met the designer backstage for a tête-à-tête on fluidity, crystal chokers, and legs for days on the runway. —CAITLIN LENT


SAINT SERNIN: Hi angel. My life.

MEL OTTENBERG: Congratulations. That was great. My favorite look was the brown leather boucle gown.

SAINT SERNIN: So I was gonna wear it myself. I was like—

OTTENBERG: I also thought at some shows this week that I was into, like, a less stringy thong now, but you’ve gotten me back on the string bandwagon.

SAINT SERNIN: This is the OG.

OTTENBERG: You do the right string. 


OTTENBERG: What’s your favorite one? I like the asymmetrical crystal bra. We’ve had codes from the beginning, which is your five year anniversary? Wait, what are the codes again? 

SAINT SERNIN: We either do an eyelet, the lace thing. This is our signature new bag. Which was actually started by the underwear that then became the bra that’s now a bag. 

OTTENBERG: Oh my god. Oh my god. 

SAINT SERNIN: It’s a full circle. 

OTTENBERG: And like, you know what? I don’t think five years ago they/them was even a thing, and boys and miniskirts weren’t even a thing and it’s everywhere. Like, look at you! I’m serious.

SAINT SERNIN: I love that it resonates, you know? Like, I’m never like, “Oh my god, they’re doing what I do.” Because if making myself as well as making other people visible is starting that movement, that’s amazing. That’s all I can ask for. And that’s really why I do what I do. 


SAINT SERNIN: To just inspire people to be themselves and celebrate their uniqueness. And their—I don’t I don’t even say fluidity, I don’t even use any of these words, but just celebrating themselves. 

OTTENBERG: Do you think—well, I mean I know that you know how to pick the best asses because the derrieres are always great. Thank you for not disappointing us, I’ll put it that way. And then what’s your favorite new shape? Babydoll? Combat boot? What?

SAINT SERNIN: Yes. Well, just the freedom of being a guy and being able to wear a skirt, a dress, whatever. And for it to not only be nighttime. I think it’s really cool to bring it into the daytime and just daring to be yourself also in the sunlight. And just celebrating your legs, your body— 

OTTENBERG: Like your boyfriend’s out there right now. What’s his name again? 

SAINT SERNIN: Ignacio [Muñoz].

OTTENBERG: Ignacio’s look is very giving that. It’s giving day. It’s giving school girl gone bad. 

SAINT SERNIN: Exactly, exactly. 

OTTENBERG: It’s giving cool girl from hell. And with it. Congratulations. Wait, I also love this, is this Swarovski? The choker thing. 


OTTENBERG: Are there different sizes?

SAINT SERNIN: No, there’s a tube and then there’s like a lace looking thing. 

OTTENBERG: That’s hot. I really like it. Congrats.