Out of a spinning cube covered in strips of lights, designer Hedi Slimane sent out a collection that looked to be defined by one powerful female musician — Courtney Love.
It would be hard to imagine anything else could be true when the models began to appear from the cube (which had split in two) wearing rhinestone tiaras. And more than a fair share of them also sported silk slip dresses of one variety or another. This was a look that was immortalized by Ms. Love roundabout 1995, when she wore a vintage champagne-colored silk slip dress to an Oscar party while sporting a $2 dollar tiara.
Love’s affront to social norms and traditions probably resonated strongly with Slimane. He too is a rebel of sorts, staying true to his vision in the face of harsh criticism from industry insiders about his Saint Laurent oeuvre.
And there will be those who will continue to criticize. Particularly a collection that has so many elements in it that felt as if they had been pulled right off the street and onto the catwalk.
The rain boots will certainly be one point of contention.
For the most part, when they didn’t feature floral embroidery or a panel of snakeskin, they looked like any other pair of rain boots. But on the Saint Laurent runway, paired with some classic denim jeans, a white tank top and a beige trench coat, the boots telegraphed a “Kate Moss at Glastonbury” circa 2011 rock and roll cool. And they are going to fly off the shelves when they hit stores next season thanks to aspirational shoppers looking for a luxury fix.
That same outfit brought up other issues. The look was so classically familiar that it raises the question: Has Slimane become the most stealth wealth designer working today? His boyfriend denim jackets, oversized perfectos and the series of long spaghetti strap slip dresses that closed out the show are stock fashion styles. So maybe it is just the private knowledge that a smoking jacket, an oversized gray turtleneck sweater or a pair of cutoff denim overalls have been designed by Slimane that makes his pieces so über desirable.
To be fair, it is not the sole reason. For those who only get to experience the Saint Laurent collections via their cell phones or computers, it is hard to comprehend the quality of the materials and the detailed craftsmanship that go into every shimmering see-through minidress or patchwork denim coat that appears on the runway. Underneath all of Silmane’s sartorial insubordination are well-made clothes that are deftly executed.
The designer titled this collection “Saint Laurent Skin,” and while he might still be getting under the skin of a few people, Silmane also has found a way for the brand to completely shed the skin of its past for one of his own making.