So, Paris fashion week has just passed and the Saint Laurent show has surprised me. Why? It wasn’t complete trash. Before we look at the clothes exhibited by Hedi Slimane from the recent Autumn-Winter show, let’s remind ourselves of a few of the looks from previous shows that may explain why some of us view Slimane’s creative decisions to be lacklustre.
These are just a few of the looks that exemplify what Slimane does best – mediocrity. The world of high fashion should surely be aspirational. I want to spend hours ogling over garments I cannot afford. Whilst I absolutely cannot afford Slimane’s pieces, the question is, do I even desire to? Fashion newcomers may be excited by the creative director’s obsession with rock and roll, and how every model seems to be what I can only describe as the offspring of Courtney Love and Kate Moss. However Slimane’s work seems rather underwhelming, with some of his creative decisions almost parodying fashion’s ‘cool girls’. For instance, the Spring Summer show of 2016 seemed to be a rather unimaginative take on ‘festival chic’. The models frolicked in tiny dresses with, you guessed it, wellies.
I must give credit to Slimane, however. His first show of Spring-Summer 2013 enabled him to inject his own vision ever so slightly in order to prepare us for the uninspiring shows to come. He even had me fooled. The DNA of Yves Saint Laurent is barely apparent in his recent shows, but his first show paid homage to the brand’s founder that reeled us all in. A fan of the 70s aesthetic myself, I was quite intrigued by what Slimane had to offer. He made it clear that he must have dug through the archives of the Parisian fashion house.
Le Smoking suit
Slimane’s use of oversized bow ties and sleek women’s tailoring was a direct homage to the man who invented the ‘Le Smoking’ suit. Slimane respected the brand’s legacy, but kept us intrigued with his modern take on the founder’s designs. Fast-forward a few years, and Slimane has created his own brand on the back of a well-known name. Perhaps his renaming of the brand was appropriate in distinguishing his reign from others. Maybe it is wrong to want a sense of continuity in a brand – Yves Saint Laurent is, after all, dead. If Slimane’s designs were decent I may be more excited about his complete separation from the brand’s legacy, but his constant riff on the rock chick aesthetic has become tiring. His most recent show however, has given the Saint Laurent woman her air of sophistication back.
Perhaps Slimane is finally tired of his tried and tested aesthetic that we saw in previous shows. The recent show seemed more promising, but with rumours of Anthony Vacarello replacing him as creative director, who knows how many shows Slimane has left. One thing that’s for sure is that Slimane’s time on the Saint Laurent throne will – whether positively or negatively – be remembered. Those who certainly won’t have been disappointed with Slimane are those on the business side. In the third quarter of 2015, sales surged 36.9%. Slimane, ultimately, has won the brand more fans than it has lost.
Tiina L, Flickr