Looks from the spring-summer 2013 Saint Laurent collection, the first… (Pascal Le Segretain )
PARIS -- It was a 1970s, rich-hippie, ladies-of-the-canyon moment on the runway at Paris Fashion Week Monday night, when designer Hedi Slimane -- who has been working primarily as a photographer in Los Angeles since leaving his post at Dior Homme in 2007 -- staged his debut runway show for Saint Laurent Paris. (Slimane renamed the brand and redesigned the logo shortly after being hired earlier this year, and has said he will be designing the collection from L.A.)
But the spirit of its founder, who died in 2008, was still very much alive in this collection, which with Raf Simons' debut at Dior on Friday, was a defining moment of the Paris season, as these two designers attempt to forge a new future for French fashion.
The scene: It was a small show for such a big brand, which is owned by Gucci Group, probably only 500 people. Yves Saint Laurent's partner Pierre Berge was there lending his support, as was YSL muse Betty Catroux. Several designers were in the house as well, including Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang and Alber Elbaz, who took a turn designing for YSL before landing at Lanvin. (Needless to say, Tom Ford and Stefano Pilati, who also tried their hands at YSL but did not find favor with Berge, were not present.)
Jessica Chastain, face of the new YSL fragrance, was front row in a vintage YSL frock from L.A. store Decades. And Kate Moss was also there.
Slimane, who recently had a photography exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, staged his show in a black box-like space at the Grand Palais. Enormous mechanized black shades on the ceiling tilted toward the runway to signal the beginning of the show, as lights swung into position. Then the music started thumping, music by Junior Kimbrough, edited by Daft Punk, according to the program notes.
It was dramatic all right, almost like the beginning of a concert. And indeed rock 'n' roll performers have been favorite subjects for Slimane's photos, and avid fans of his menswear while he was at Dior Homme.
The look: Stevie Nicks ladies-of-the-canyon rich hippie. Skinny tailoring reminiscent of what Slimane did at Dior Homme. Tuxedo jackets and slim leather jeans. Maxi-dresses with billowy sleeves. Sequin evening jackets. Suede dress with front lacing. Witchy woman capes trimmed in feathers, lace and sequins. A spectacular gold chain fringe maxi skirt. Fringe pendant necklaces. Every look was accessorized with a wide brim hat.
The verdict: Respectful of the brand. More like a greatest hits album than a revolutionary new sound. Slimane will surely turn up the volume on his own vision more in the coming seasons. In the meantime, these clothes are going to look great in L.A.
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