Editors’ letter

‘We are here as custodians,’ says Saint Laurent CEO and cover star, Francesca Bellettini. In a wide-ranging conversation (p.40), she and creative director Anthony Vaccarello discuss their respective paths towards the hallowed Parisian house and the €3 billion success story they’re making there. ‘The brand will survive us all,’ says Bellettini, which, she believes, gives her and Vaccarello a duty to keep the house in order, prepare the terrain for the next generation, and maintain YSL standards.

There is something both levelling and reassuring in recognizing that we are all but transient guardians of grander schemes, wider stories, bigger issues. Martine Rose, interviewed for this issue with her long-time stylist and best friend Tamara Rothstein (p.78), presents herself as much as a guardian of London’s (sub)cultural melting pot as she does a menswear designer. Eschewing collection mood boards in favour of lived experiences, often those of her family and friends in the nightlife of the British capital, she has carved out a pleasantly idiosyncratic niche for herself in the industry, defined by its keen sense of time, place and behaviour – fashion as psychogeography. Meanwhile, over in Tokyo, in a rare interview to mark the 30th anniversary of his label (p.176), Junya Watanabe reflects on the notion of ploughing his own furrow to keep punk aesthetics and the art of tailoring alive, motivated by the higher purpose of ‘digging into one small theme and making it stronger’, season after season.

And lastly, Haider Ackermann. ‘I am an adopted child,’ he says in a candid interview about his recent absence from the industry (p.230). ‘My name is the only thing I carry from my parents.’ Reclaiming his right to use it has proved a trial of late, but with the legal dispute successfully resolved, he’s making up for lost time, juggling sportswear and couture collections, and plotting the return of his eponymous brand. ‘I always used to say to people, dream your dreams and follow your heart,’ he adds, ‘but time has taught me that you also need to protect your future.’

Taken from System No. 20.