Ludovic de Saint Sernin on E-Boys, OnlyFans and His NSFW Finsta

Ludovic de Saint Sernin on E-Boys, OnlyFans and His NSFW Finsta

It is not lost on Ludovic de Saint Sernin that a lot of his success is owed in part to the gays. His community of freewheeling, sex-positive fans (mostly men) have been eating up the designer's skimpy and erotic wares since he started his eponymous label in 2017. But it was only in the past year or so that de Saint Sernin was able to forge an even deeper connection with said audience.

"I never really realized before the pandemic hit that we could transform a follower into a buyer and that's been really amazing for us because the support we had became also financial support," he tells PAPER over Zoom from Paris. In fact, many of the items he'll post on Instagram — eyelet briefs, sexy swim gear, sheer tank tops — quickly sell out in a matter of days, sometimes hours.

Indeed, while his label still operates within the parameters of the fashion system (twice-yearly runway shows, seasonal campaigns etc.), the direct-to-consumer part of his business — fueled by his passionate social media base — has been a bright spot in an otherwise unpredictable 12 months. "It's really fun for them because sometimes they get first access to the stuff even before [retail] buyers," he says.

De Saint Sernin turned 30 last year, a not-insignificant number considering his brand's image leans toward a young, skinty and sexy persona (he's arguably the twink whisperer among fashion circles). But don't assume that means his collections will be skewing "older" anytime soon. Instead, as his most recent collection for Fall 2021 demonstrates, he's interpreting maturity through his choice of more premium materials.

"I think with this collection it's about showing how the brand can mature and how we can elevate it as well," he says. "There are these more elevated pieces with couture finishings and real garments, not just fantasy pieces that look good on a photo. It has to be something that I can wear everyday. I don't wear my Swarovski pieces everyday, but even those are much easier to put on and off. So I think it really shows in the collection how we've grown and where we want to go."

Building on last season's "e-boy" collection, de Saint Sernin continued his exploration of the subculture's themes but with a darker, sexier approach. (Dolce & Gabbana and Celine were similarly inspired by the TikTok tribe for Fall 2021.) This nightlife fixation took form in see-through pastel shirt/pants sets, tartan miniskirts with Swarovski crystals, bralets with matching chokers and sparkly fishnet tank tops.

What's behind his fascination with e-boys? "I think it's more about how we've been forced to entertain ourselves digitally and show who we are online," he says. "I think it's really important to celebrate how we've been able to stay creative while at home, because it's not just Instagram. It can also be Onlyfans. Even on Zoom you can be creative and wear a cute outfit. I have Tiktok but I haven't been able to understand how to use it just yet. I watch it from a spectator point of view. I'm a good dancer, but not really in front of the world. So, I don't engage in that so much. So this season is really more about finally going out after being inside and online so much."

To that end, he had his boyfriend Ignacio Muñoz be the star of his recent Spring 2021 campaign, where he showed off a variety of different haircuts and versions of himself. For De Saint Sernin, it was about showing the variety of what it means to be an e-boy while also bringing a sense of intimacy and community to his latest project.

"The whole point, giving him all these different haircuts and looks, was to show how you're still kind of looking for your identity between your twenties and thirties," he says. "It can be a haircut. It can be a look. It changes all the time. It's the defining years where you can find yourself. So that campaign was just an accelerated version of that quest for yourself and your identity."

Speaking of community, he's been able to engage with his most devoted (and horny) followers through @ludovicdesaintserninx, a private NSFW finsta in 2018 that reposts artsy nudes from other queer men. It's developed a cult following over the years for its provocative-yet-curated approach to sexual expression, even though he may not be as active on it as he once was.

"It's been really fun because it's something not fashion related at all," he says. "It's more just the queer community being able to enjoy themselves on a platform and create conversations and imagery. It's really the best example of how you can find something really niche and it's something that so many people can relate to and it becomes bigger than what it was going to be. But it's actually a lot of work which I didn't realize until lockdown hit. When we were working on the collection I haven't been on it much lately."

"E-Boy Season 2" may have been unveiled a few weeks later than usual (he typically presents during the Paris menswear schedules in January and June), but he's not intending on making this a recurring thing in the future. Ideally, he'd like to get back on traditional men's calendar this summer as it's his favorite time of the year.

"Even though it's the unknown, it is exciting to be able to think in a different way how you can show a collection," he says. "Even though it's frustrating not being able to do a show, it has pushed us to think differently and to take the time to do things right and to not rush it, so I think it's going to be exciting to see what we can do in June. It's always my favorite season so hopefully we can do something."

Photos courtesy of Ludovic de Saint Sernin