Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” is one of the most iconic songs of the disco era—sensuous yet melodic, using synthesizers to create a futuristic mood. Ahead of its time then, highly revered today, it’s now been reimagined by SebastiAn as it sets the scene for the captivating new Saint Laurent film Summer of ‘21, debuting the fashion house’s Summer 2021 collection.
Anthony Vaccerello, the creative director of Saint Laurent, joined forces with Love and Lux Aeterna director Gaspar Noé to direct this captivating treasure of a collection through film. At just under 10 minutes, the film brings to life a fusion of pleasure mixed with terror. It begins dark, transporting the viewer into a woodsy scene where it must be close to midnight and who knows what can happen in the middle of nowhere. Model Aylah Mae Peterson is there, clearly unfamiliar with her surroundings, and then instantly spooked, screaming hysterically and running away from whatever is chasing her. But she’s also, of course, impeccably dressed in a black belted blazer and black bike shorts with a white flower necktie, as if to signify her purity and innocence. Is she running away from all of the chaos that has spooked us this year? One would hope that she is getting far, far away.
As she reaches a magnificent but mysterious house, we are led to believe this is her safe space. The scene cuts to a haze of velvet red light and we meet the enigmatic priestess, played by Charlotte Rampling, who is admiring her own beauty and mystique in a flowy floral gown trimmed with feathers around her neck and wrists, reminiscent of the Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutiques of the ‘60s.
The film continues to transport us into rooms filled with some of the most captivating models of the current century, including Mica Arganaraz, Sora Choi, Kim Schell, and Anok Yai. The ladies move from room to room in sheer dresses with fur trims, mini black leather dresses, off-the-shoulder leotard jumpsuits with feathers around the sleeve, hot pants, and silk blouses accessorized with floral neckties. Their interactions are effortless yet peculiar, almost angelic.
And then there is a bell. A long bell, something like what you would hear in high school as the classes were changing from first period to second. The models make their way, as in almost a subtle trance, to a concert hall with gilded ceilings. Each lady takes their seat—socially distanced, of course—awaiting a performance. The curtain rises and the haunted priestess emerges on stage in a surreal and electrifying moment. Is she the future we can look forward to?
Rampling is spotlighted in the warmest yellow light as she stands on stage in a sea of leaves raising her arms high in an embrace to welcome her praise. She is phantasm at its best, and as we sit here on the verge of 2021, our minds are no longer dwelling on what was yesterday, but rather looking forward to the beauty and mystique of all that is ahead. Who wouldn’t feel the love?
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