Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane – The Fashion World’s Latest Bad Boy
During Paris’s fashion collections, Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane hit a bull’s eye for causing conflict, shock and being the most talked about designer of the season. True, apart from the International Herald Tribune’s critic Suzy Menkes who hailed and appreciated his vision, Slimane was mostly reviled and criticized for a fall winter collection which he described as being influenced by “Californian Grunge.” To be frank, it’s grunge on an international level – widely apparent in places like Notting Hill, the Bastille and the West Village – and consists of baby dolls, floral dresses, schoolgirl slips teamed with plaid shirts, sloppy cardigans, fishnets and biker boots.
Whatever the insults – certain popular bloggers went into overdrive.com – Slimane succeeded in grabbing major media attention with his second collection. His controversial clothes led to a fair amount of headshaking disbelief from Front Row powers but better that than being politely dismissed. The question remains whether Slimane – a master maniuplator who forged his reputation at Dior Homme – was purposely pulling imaginary pigtails, sticking his tongue out or even going further with the ‘V’ sign. Slimfast – Slimane’s nickname due to his prior obsession with skinny male models – enjoys playing the perverse card. Nevertheless, his actions are backed up a serious game plan. As demonstrated by dropping the ‘Yves’ from the brand’s name and getting rid of the iconic ‘YSL’ typeface, Slimane wants to rejuvenate the revered French fashion house. And this upsets many. The late Saint Laurent – a rare fashion genius – still touches an emotional chord and makes people nostalgic for a bygone elegant era. Such folk suffer serious fashion amnesia, forgetting that from 1987, Saint Laurent’s ready-to-wear shows were stilted affairs and D.O.A. in comparison to what Karl Lagerfeld was achieving over at Chanel. Instead, they recall how Saint Laurent was the master of color and cut, the creator of Le Smoking and other steeped-in-chic pieces. All admirable and good but the fashion milieu has changed – mindless sensuality and youth rule, the term ‘chic’ could be construed as sexless – and Slimane has tapped into the mood.,
His first Saint Laurent collection which was a tribute to the stylist Rachel Zoe and Californian Boho Chic – think long romantic dresses, caftans and large floppy hats – flew off the shelves in a Shanghai second. As for his recent collection attended by filmstar Kirsten Dunst and her boyfriend Garrett Hedlund; Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s actress wife and Jamie Hince from The Kills, it has a crafty amount of YSL basics such as tux jackets, tailored coats and the ‘Chubby’ – the fox fur coat of the 1970s. In fact, it’s hard not to agree with Tim Blanks, Style.com’s esteemed critic that the clothes will “send orgasmic tremors” in Tokyo’s Shibuya 109, New York’s Trash and Vaudeville and other “wonderful retro romps.”
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