Hedi Slimane is staying the course at Saint Laurent. Since he took over the house the designer has completely repackaged the iconic brand into his own sartorial vision. And, other than in his first womenswear show, has left any reference to the history of the brand behind him.
Instead, his talents as a photographer have produced some striking - and no doubt soon to be iconic - ad campaigns. His love of music has resulted in his well-received music projects, like the recently revealed collaboration with Curtis Harding. And of course, his fashion show soundtracks tend to slant towards fringe or up and coming bands Slimane has uncovered and proceeded to set on a world stage. And let’s not forget the artists who the designer taps to illustrate his booklet invitations. This season that honor went to Raymond Pettibon.
It all makes for a new world order at Saint Laurent. It is only on the catwalk that Slimane continues to look backwards for inspiration. In every other aspects of his job he revels in searching for the new. So what's the sartorial hold up?
Slimane once again stuck to his comfort zone creations: stove pipe pants, long Teddy Boy blazers, oversized overcoats and leather jackets worn on whippet thin male models reappeared on the Saint Laurent fall/winter 2014 menswear catwalk. A sartorial echo chamber of the fashion Slimane first made all the rage during the 2000s when he was creative director of Dior Homme.
The key piece in this show, and in the wardrobe of any wannabe rebel, was the perfecto black leather jacket. Slimane sent it down the catwalk four times. Each version getting its own “cool” embellishment like silver stud lapels, panels of animal printed fabric, fur or contrasting white leather details. That other hallmark of youthful dress, the varsity jacket, also popped up a couple of times just for good measure.
In fact, there was a lot in this collection that looks like luxury updates of rebellious attire from the 1950s. Often the overhaul of those vintage pieces came down to shimmer bead and sequin embellishments and the proportions. Silhouettes that were reworked to fit the bodies of the designer’s pre pubescent models.
It would be nice to see Slimane bring as much forward and experimental momentum to his clothing as he does the rest of his job. That is not to say this was a bad show, just one that felt like a medley of tunes already known by heart.