Gone are the wellies, the army jackets, the striped t shirts, the deconstructed denim, the combat boots, the ripped pantyhose, the rock and roll t shirts, the zippered biker jackets, and any vestiges of the 70’s, boho or grunge. Welcome to Hedi Slimane’s new (well, not exactly new because he’s been there before) but rather, re imagined, more grown up, tightly edited vision for Saint Laurent.
Foregoing his usual media driven extravaganza, the handmade 42 pieces of haute couture Hedi presented last night were unveiled in silence (no music) in his new, far more intimate and elegant atelier located within the Hotel de Senecterre, and it made a strong, powerful statement (visual and otherwise). Not to mention the fact that he was nowhere to be found (he did not come out at the end of the show). It was a rigorous study in (clichéd) Parisian chic, and it remained very true to the YSL archives, except of course, even more so, and as seen through Hedi’s eyes.
There is no question that anyone in the front row (wearing their comfy sneakers or well-worn faded jeans), seated beneath the elegant chandeliers, must have felt completely and instantly underdressed (this was about as far away from casual, streetwise and utilitarian sportswear as could be). It was fierce, fitted, tautly belted, leggy, smoking hot and dressed to the nines and was almost entirely played out in black with touches of gold, silver, red, blue, purple.
The shoulders were exaggerated through outsized ruffles. There were beads, sequins, a bit of leopard, and fur chubbies. Only a handful of long pieces were shown, and the few pants that were there, were primarily narrow if not skinny, and were either colorfully sequined (and shown with black leather bombers), or in black and part of an impeccably tailored black pantsuit. The models’ hair was severely slicked back, their kohl rimmed eyes were smoldering, and they sported red lips and crimson red nail polish. They wore gold or silver cuffs and chokers, diamante clip on earrings, black sheer hose and pointed toed, high heeled pumps (often in contrasting colors as if to accentuate their legs).
Coincidentally, I kept thinking that Nancy Reagan, who passed away at the age of 94 on Sunday, would have gravitated to many of the pieces back in her heyday as First Lady (notwithstanding her support of American designers, and if the extremely short dresses were modestly lengthened of course). A perfect size 2, she had a well-documented love affair with glamourous haute couture, and a penchant for the color red, polka dots, crystals, face framing ruffles, lame, and dramatic 1 shoulders.
While it might have taken awhile, many if not most of Hedi’s strongest critics and naysayers, have eventually warmed up to his re make of the fabled label (his first collection was for Spring/Summer 2013). There is no denying he has been extremely influential. The burning question now is, is he staying or is he going? Stay tuned.
– Marilyn Kirschner