If you’ve been following Ludovic de Saint Sernin and the rise of his namesake label, you’ll be used to seeing the handsome designer in his undies. Not any old drawers, mind you, but the eyelet briefs which have catapulted his brand to global acclaim.
The world de Saint Sernin envisions is scantily clad, laced with Y2K hedonism and reeks of potent sex appeal. Bare skin and exposed erogenous zones are pillars to his design lexicon. His clothes come built on the allure of dressing up to be undressed, inspired by the brand’s ever-growing online community who flaunt their LdSS fashions (and chiselled torsos) on Instagram.
His work is imbued with an unshakable confidence fed by the designer himself, who has proven to be more than his brand’s spokesperson; he’s his own muse. “Growing up, and before I started studying fashion, I was scouted when I was17. Multiple times people wanted me to model but I was always like, ‘No, I know I want to be a designer’,” says de Saint Sernin. Questioning not being taken seriously as a creator if he modelled too led the designer – upon his label’s growing success– to totally “embody” his brand.
And he did just that, back in March, when de Saint Sernin and his caramel-tinted long locks walked his own catwalk.Sauntering alongside the Hadid sisters, the designer wore brown trousers and a matching shirt unbuttoned past the chest, a more subdued look amongst pseudo-snakeskin mini dresses and low-rise jeans studded with a Swarovski-laden LdSS monogram.
Post-show, the Brussels-born designer wrote on Instagram that his runway appearance was a “message of self-love and a celebration of all the iconic designers that have inspired me to become one myself” – name checking Donatella Versace, Marc Jacobs and Rick Owens. It didn’t take long for de Saint Sernin to meet one of his fashion heroes, Jacobs, over dinner on a trip to New York in April, and the designer has counted Owens as a collaborator since 2021 after the pair created ajoint zine, Tyrone by Rick for Ludovic (featuring Owens’ muse Tyrone Susman), and Owens featured in de Saint Sernin’s debut exhibition.
“[Owens] is a really good friend and I adore him,” says de Saint Sernin, speaking of wanting to “showcase my inner Rick energy” in the images that accompany this story. Captured in his Parisian apartment, the designer dons a sorbet yellow faux fur by Coperni, a crushed velvet Blumarine frock and a beaded Balenciaga moment, alongside looks from Prada, Versace and his own label.
“I’m in my boy-in-a-dress era,” says the designer, who has recently taken to the ’gram in nipple-baring, cherry red mini-dresses, as well as ankle-length bodycon numbers. The newest stage in his style evolution, he says, “is about accepting your body and growing into your own person. For so long, I always just presented myself in the way people wanted me to be presented. The more I dared [with my style], the more I was being celebrated for it. Dresses still show my silhouette, which is kind of my brand, just now in a different way. It’s liberating.
”Growing up infatuated by fashion, de Saint Sernin gathered a repertoire of visual references he once believed couldn’t be transferred to a guy’s body. Through his brand and own personal wardrobe, he’s successfully toyed with preconceived notions of what men wear. Be it draping glittery halter necks over washboard abs or putting lads in thongs. His racy designs borrow their sexiness from Paris’ queer scene, which flourishes as the night creeps in.
The designer speaks fondly of the city’s growing illegal rave scene: “There was this party we were going to but it was just shut down by the police,” says de Saint Sernin, who was considering holding his AW22 show mid-rave before the cops rocked up. “It’s a good moment for Paris, it’s really happening here. People that I know from either London, New York or LA are all wanting to come and check out the Paris scene.”
De Saint Sernin ventures out on to those sticky Parisian dancefloors with his boyfriend Ignacio Muñoz. The twosome are admittedly attached at the hip: “We don’t go out without each other; he is my everything.” The couple share an apartment and like to do their grocery shopping at Maison Plisson, which is just a stone’s throw from the designer’s studio. “The way I like to shop is that I’ll go to each store: I’ll go to the wineshop, I’ll go to the cheese shop, to the boulangerie. I’ll take my time to do all these things because I love good products and good food.
As far as routines go, he’s a creature of habit. “I’m a Virgo. I always do the same things all the time, I’m the most boring person.” In his beauty cabinet currently are creams from Dr. Barbara Sturm, along with a bunch of “really clean products that make you feel glow-y and beautiful. Investing in a good cream is important.” Now we’re no longer stuck behind our face masks, the designer has been indulging in a range of treatments. He doesn’t wear make-up, instead opting for just hair and face creams, lip balm and glow drops he subtly applies to his cheekbones.
The designer, who is 33, says that indulging in the things that make you happy is key to taking care of yourself properly. To him, this means plenty of beauty sleep, massages and getting a mani-pedi. “It’s important to listen to your body. Because if you’re feeling good in your skin, then you’ll feel good in your head, too,” he says. One thing he loathes about his globetrotting day job is his gym routine being messed up. “I’m not like a muscle queen or anything like that, but [working out] just makes me feel good. [The gym] is a place where I get to isolate and just focus. It’s where I actually come up with ideas for shows, campaigns or anything creative.”
Prior to launching his own label in 2017, de Saint Sernin interned at Dior and Saint Laurent before landing a gig on the Balmain womenswear team under Olivier Rousteing, where he worked for two years. “I’ve worked in brands where people are so passionate about what they do that they work night and day, and work weekends – I try to not do that too much,” he says. “I am the owner and founder of my own brand, so it takes up a lot of time, pretty much all my time, but realistically I do try to take breaks so I get to enjoy the successes that have come from work.”
Holidays may be few and far between over the next few months as the designer prepares for his fifth anniversary show, which will debut in Paris as this issue hits newsstands. Having already established a hypersexual USP, de Saint Sernin is keen to level up his label. What’s on the agenda? “I really want to do a bag. I would love to do some good pairs of sweatpants, sweaters; clothes that are more chill day-to-day looks.” Moving forward, he says, it’s important that he anchors the aesthetic of his brand to a more relatable market: “A bit more real, not just a fantasy. I want to find that balance.”
If the designer’s AW22 offering was anything to go by, where daringly short hemlines and skin-tight clubwear met refreshingly muted ribbed knits, boyfriend shirts and minimal separates, in the not-so-distant future you’ll be able to deck your entire wardrobe out in his creations. Ludovic de Saint Sernin is a lifestyle brand, watch this space.
Top image: Ludovic wears vest and dress by PRADA.
Photographer JOSHUA TARN
Fashion Editor and Talent LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERNIN
Text PAUL TONER
Grooming SHAILA MORAN using Byredo and Dr. Barbara Sturm
Set designer DANIEL KOLODZIEJCZAK
Photographer’s assistant ZILLAH RAUTER
Thanks to IGNACIO MUÑOZ, CLARA KAZIS, JULIETTE STEPHAN and AGATHE LE ROY