Tuesday, 2 October 2012

PFW | SAINT LAURENT PARIS Spring/Summer 2013


To say it was a scene laden with speculation and expectation is an understatement. Hedi Slimane, in case you’ve somehow missed it, is the designer who has been chosen to take on the mantel of Yves Saint Laurent’s ready-to-wear from Stefano Pilati a position that carries the weight of national significance for the French nation. Tout le monde of Paris gathered at the Grand Palais to witness the birth of the new era, a relaunch Slimane, who is a talented creative director and photographer, as well as an acclaimed menswear designer, has already rebranded with a new logo: 


And what a scene it was, up and down the front rows, as the audience sat waiting in a stark, black darkened box installed on an upper floor. There was plenty to look at. Front and center was Pierre Bergé, the man who was Yves Saint Laurent’s business partner, and has mentored Slimane since the beginning of his career. Flanking him were Valérie Trierweiler, the Paris Match political journalist who is the French de facto first lady, the glamorous 47-year-old lover of the new Socialist president of the country, François Hollande, and Betty Catroux, the blonde inspiration to and co-conspirator of Yves over many years. In the rows were gathered great originals of fashion, Alber Elbaz (who himself passed through YSL before landing at Lanvin), Marc Jacobs, Azzedine Alaïa, Vivienne Westwood, Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Moss, and Jamie Hince.

It began with a cataclysmic, immersive overture of noise and visual sensation. The ceiling began to split and tip, black panels opening mechanically while rotating lighting rigs lowered into place. And then Slimane’s top-secret thought processes were finally revealed to the pounding of a heavy-rock riff: not (as some had wagered) a brutalist severing with the past, but what amounted to a surprisingly respectful rebooting of everything Saint Laurent did for hippie rock chicks in the seventies.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Hedi Slimane’s sensibility is indivisible from music culture, and the girls he sent out, in their wide-brimmed hats, skinny, skinny pants, immaculately tailored short jackets, and billowy, chiffon dresses were totally in character as inhabitants of a glam-rock world. Young twenty-first-century heiresses to the women who, in another era, clustered in the wake of the Rolling Stones, migrating from Paris nightclubs to Woodstock to Altamont to Morocco.

Granted, through Slimane’s lens, the atmosphere on the runway was darker and more sober than Saint Laurent’s original high-fashion expression of the daze of free love and liberation. But yes, it had plenty of its own frisson of coolness and self-possessed sexuality. As a tailor of proven renown, he put forward a thorough argument for a modernized Saint Laurent jacket, cut to bell-hop length, with distinctively sharp lapels, precise shoulders, and disc-button details, shown in many fabrications, with white ruffle-front blouses and floppy scarf bows tied at the neck.

If Slimane had limited himself to showing tailoring in what is effectively his debut in womenswear, he’d perhaps have stayed within the predictions pundits. But he didn’t: More than half of the collection dealt with Saint Laurent’s heritage in chiffon. Balloon-sleeved, see-through, romantic maxi dresses swept purposefully up and down the runway, trailing dramatic capes and the occasional Moroccan-style hooded burnoose. It’s easy to picture the kind of girls who will leap to wear such dresses, and the kind of situations in which they can fantasize lying languidly around in them at all the after-parties at Cannes, Venice, and rock festivals next summer. As a whole? Slimane’s debut as a womenswear designer shone an unexpected light on him, not as a raging rebel, but as someone who declares himself, first and foremost, loyal to the house’s founding principles. The dedication he left on the benches read, simply, “À Pierre.”


Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories 

Photo Credit/Source:  © VOGUE
Photography by © Monica Feudi/FeudiGuaineri



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