How Stuff Became the Biggest Thing In Fashion3 min read
Saint Laurent, helmed by designer Anthony Vaccarello, is known for its spangly fitted blazers, terrific leather pants, and awesome rocker boots. But recently, Saint Laurent has also been the creator of a marble arcade game, a checkered tennis racket, an inflatable pool toy, and a $65 tote bag.
All of this stuff exists under an umbrella called Saint Laurent Rive Droite—Vaccarello launched it in the spring of 2019, when the brand took over the space previously occupied by the store Colette in Paris, and opened a new retail space in Beverly Hills. Both of these stores, called Saint Laurent Rive Droite as a nod to the eponymous designer’s revolutionary ready-to-wear line Rive Gauche, carry objets made by Saint Laurent. Some are produced in collaboration with other brands: Wilson, Hunter boots, and Lomography cameras. Others are just Saint Laurent bike locks, notebooks, and portable coffee mugs. The catch is that none of these things are clothes. As the brand puts it in their publicity materials, Rive Droite is a “retail destination for expression, exchange, and lifestyle, showcasing a wide range of products including exclusive pieces, limited editions, library, vintage, music, photography combined with art, performances, exhibitions, events, and cultural exchanges”
In other words, it’s all stuff.
Undoubtedly, this is yet another fashion business innovation inspired by Supreme, which has long included Supreme-branded ashtrays, Meissen porcelain, musical instruments, and even Post-Its among its biannual output of crisp clothing. Though it also betrays a slightly disarming comfort with branding: the only thing cooler than a drum set is a drum set that says “SUPREME.” (Admittedly, a marble Saint Laurent arcade game is objectively cool.) And now, stuff is everywhere.
More recently, the slick luxury e-commerce platform Ssense launched a section called “Everything Else”—wallpaper by Martin Margiela, a Versace paddle ball set, and a vase shaped like a boot by the ceramicist Anissa Kermiche. (Perhaps coincidentally, Ssense’s new category arrived on the heels of a stuff-adjacent scandale inspired by a story on the site’s own editorial platform, in which writer and GQ contributor Max Lakin railed against consumers who seem to be “endlessly curating small corners with vaguely African wenge wood stools.”) The Everything Else section appears at a moment when many of us are home more than ever, and so it seems the final consumer domain mostly untouched by the millennialization of everything—interior design, particularly surfaces covered in artfully arranged bibelots and floors layered in funky carpets—has finally met its match. Of course, going straight for the Margiela wallpaper instead of following a millennial paint startup on Instagram is a far more inspired consumer choice.
The Ssense stuff shop complicates our branded theory of things. Instead, it works against a much larger enemy: minimalism. For too long, the trendy ideal of domestic bliss was a Donald Judd-like space, every surface clear like a desert horizon, every unnecessary thing purged at the behest of Marie Kondo. But now we feel a new urgency to surround ourselves with things. Things tell us who we are when no one else is around to do so. Or less cynically, we have a new desire to look around our limited living spaces and delight our eyes. Looking up from our laptops every 20 minutes needs to be a little more interesting than a Kill Bill poster and millennial mint walls really allow. At the very least, your water bottle can be Prada.
The final and latest entry into this case study of stuff, if you will, is Raf Simons’s new “History of My World,” a collection of blankets as well as candles and books designed by Simons’s studio. Considering that Simons already has a line of fabrics, it seems curious that he would reassert himself to fans. But when our home is the only safe space for the foreseeable future, you can’t fault Simons for wanting not only to dress us, but surround us…with stuff.
Originally Appeared on GQ