HEDI SLIMANE hit the runway with a very strong message this evening as he showcased his debut Saint Laurent collection for the house of Yves Saint Laurent since his appointment in March this year (he had done a pre collection in July but that was never revealed to press), when he replaced Stefano Pilati.
He sent out rock chicks with immaculate styling to match and drew upon all of his photographic and visual prowess to make his point – we sat in a black box of a catwalk space, the ceiling closing in on us and the lights darting around to build up the tension for yet another Paris Fashion Week show (we had that same excited feeling from Dior on Friday). It was dramatic – Slimane is master of the theatre.
And the show he was putting on this evening was one that combined the rock edge aesthetic he had coined at Dior Homme combined with Seventies shapes – billowy chiffon blouses and flowing maxi dresses with equally billowy sleeves. These were dandy girls with their oversized hats – which came with every look – and their multiple neck bows, tuxedo jackets and super skinny trousers.
It was refreshing to see him do something so different with the Seventies era – there was no lounge luxe or bohemian flower power here, these were girls with serious rock credentials.
There came ponchos and cloaks and capes and ruffles tumbling at necks – they later moved onto backs and shoulders, again it was that drama. There were big belts and fantastic jewellery and the message was obviously a very strong one – each look pretty much the same as before only tweaked with a sequin jacket as opposed to a black one, or the blouse version of the dress before, the cloak longer or shorter, in chiffon or not.
It was prairie meets puritans meets rock stars and entirely leaned in the direction of something Kate Moss – who was rocking out front row – might wear.
The thing that Slimane is particularly good at doing is creating a look (skinny jeans), something which a designer starting at a new house (well to a point, he was menswear director at Yves Saint Laurent from 1996 to 2000), needs to do.
And while there were perhaps question marks over the need for the series of Stevie Nicks-style gowns at the end, he was obviously just trying to compound his point. Which he did. The thing that we need to do is give him more than one season to see where he takes Saint Laurent, as he so renamed it in June. This was a strong start. But we feel like we need to know more. It’s doubtless, however, just how much this look will end up penetrating our wardrobes next season. Just watch.