Saint Laurent

July 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Writ small on the card on everyone’s seat at the Saint Laurent show were the words “Psych Rock’s New Rising.” A phrase pregnant with promise, and every element of the performance was exhaustively calibrated by Hedi Slimane to deliver on it. By now, we know all those elements by heart. The invitation arrives as a little black book of a California artist’s work (today, Bruce Conner). The soundtrack is a contribution from an obscure West Coast sixties-revivalist band (the wide-hatted Mystic Braves were an aural and visual complement to the new collection). The front row is a cross-legged tribe of Hedi’s Kids, wide-eyed disciples of his fashion shamanism. The set is an extravagant feat of futuristic engineering, with sci-fi lighting effects. And the clothes? Well, they’re the costumes for Slimane’s piece of theater.

Until now, it has felt like Slimane was a passionate fanboy. That passion had become quite persuasive; the sales figures are more than enough evidence. But here it all went a little predictable and chilly. There was a sense of boxes to be ticked—Little Bugle Boy jacket, poncho, sheepskin vest, army surplus, embroidered jeans, amulets, snakeskin boots, garage band—rather than an unleashing of the beast of psych rock. Of course, Slimane’s collections for Saint Laurent are notoriously divisive, so those items will no doubt have plenty of fervent admirers, too.

One member of Slimane’s cast of characters stood out for his black-suit/white-shirt garb, incongruous amid the scrawny psych rockers and their ladies of the canyon. He looked like the archetypal wheeler-dealer band manager who’d end up milking his young protégés for all they’re worth. His cynical presence added to the theatricality. So did the shine of a striped lamé jacket, the sparkle of a glittery afghan, the embroidered poppy that trailed down a jacket. It was enough to make you wish Slimane would hurry up and get to glam rock on his trawl through the annals of popular music.

Speaking of possible futures, the most intriguing thing in the designer’s cryptic show notes was a special thanks to trance-punk artist Arrington de Dionyso. Maybe Slimane has surprises in store after all.
—Tim Blanks
Runway Feed

Saint Laurent

January 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Hedi Slimane set up his new Saint Laurent collection in a cavernous second-floor space at the Grand Palais last night, at the tail end of the Couture shows. Not all brands can be bothered to create a sense of occasion when it comes to pre-fall. The season has turned into a two-month-long slog of showroom appointments. Slimane deserves some credit for finally sending it out in style.

According to his press representatives, the designer conceived the collection as a rock star’s wardrobe. Not unlike his menswear show of a few days ago, it was unapologetically young, with an emphasis on the casual. The floor-sweeping capes of his Spring debut were out, and leather pelmet minis—more belt than skirt—were in. On the sweeter side of the story, Peter Pan-collared, sixties-ish minidresses had a schoolgirl vibe, even if they weren’t that innocent in black-on-black. Blue jeans, fringed leather jackets, shrunken blazers with elbow patches, and toggle coats rounded out the offerings.

All of it was polished, but only the pantsuits and the smokings—skinny and scalpel-sharp, as is the Slimane way—seemed to connect overtly with the house’s legacy. What kind of role heritage will play in the new Saint Laurent is very much an open question. Whether or not its past—which means so much to France—should be part of its future will be debated forever. To this editor, luxed-up basics like the tailoring (less so the schoolgirl stuff) seem like a smart foundation upon which to rebuild a brand.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed