Saint Laurent Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

Hedi Slimane is sticking to his sartorial guns. Once again the designer showed a collection infused with a rock and roll style that disregarded anything else that is going on in menswear.

Like a taskmaster who - through constant repetition - brings about results, the laser focused Slimane has set up his frame work at Saint Laurent and he continues to reinforce it each season. First, his show is always in the same location. Then, the invitation is always an identical black booklet filled with moody images from one cutting edge artist or another (this time it was Matt Connors), ditto the music which highlights a niche musician like this season’s Sam Flax. And backdrop sets, of industrial lighting and an ominous sound system, have now become a central character in each of the designer’s collections.

Who knows if it was the rote build-up surrounding the show or if Slimane had simply found a way to regulate his vision so that it was more palpable than in the past, but this collection was markedly better then its predecessors.

Perhaps it was the choice not to limit himself to one particular group of disgruntled youths or musical rebels that made this collection feel more relevant. The different influences could all be clearly distinguished on the catwalk. From David Bowie and Teddy Boy bands to Sid Vicious and Peter Doherty, this was a collection created for those who rail against the status quo and challenge perceptions.  

Much will be made of the models Slimane tapped to walk in his collection. Toothpick thin, the boys (because it would be hard to believe any of them are old enough to shave) walked the runway with their shoulder’s hunched, wrists jutting out from shrunken jackets and pants so skin tight they left little to the imagination.

But what these boys lacked in body fat, they made up with in swagger. They “owned” those black perfecto biker jackets, they could make a cowboy bandana and shirts adorned with silver tipped collars look cool and they transformed classic striped shirts into a symbol of adolescence angst.

There was also the undeniable unisex appeal to the pieces. One evening jacket covered in silver bugle beads was spotted both on the catwalk and on the shoulders of front row guest Mila Jovovich.  And at least one woman so seamlessly melded into the line up of male models that she went undetected by a large portion of the audience.

It looks as if the next tactical move for Slimane is to meld his mens and womenswear collections together. Thus creating an even stronger sartorial army to be ruled by his iron will.

- Jessica Michault

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