While commentators and editors here and there remain skeptical after the parisian show (watch the feud between Cathy Horyn and Hedi Slimane), we went after any reason to foresee a bright future for (Yves) Saint Laurent (Paris). Did Slimane bring any decisive twist to the legendary house of fashion?
Everything started with a comical move of the studio to Los Angeles. Then came a bold re-branding. Yves Saint Laurent should now be called Saint Laurent Paris, all thanks to the gracious will of the new captain on board: provocative and reckless Hedi Slimane, a while after having reset menswear silhouette at Dior Homme in the early 2000s, has now as mission to develop his own vision of La Femme Saint Laurent. Many have now perceived the distinct hommage to Yves’ legacy as an undary move, but we think it reveals the real stakes of the game.
Hedi Slimane actually never directed a major womenswear line. His main achievements were to be found in the menswear dressing: menswear at YSL back in 1996, then Dior Homme as one should know. His universe has since then accompanied (if not “defined”?) a major chunk of contemporary culture: rock and roll. From the raw Kills on stage to the more opportunist brand The Kooples, the idea of a dry minimalism, untamed spirit with a covert indie fire ready to burn everything, the Slimane touch is now a petit standard in the fashion field and around.
Now what does this first Saint Laurent collection show? Our point is that this was a carefully negotiated turn, taken with the violence of a slap to expectations of a too fast too furious crowd. Let’s see the method: at first, crossing real borders to overtake imaginary and creative ones later [the studio move out of Paris]. Secondly, stir up the identity to redefine it sharper [the name change], as a well-known marketing coup: naming strategies say a lot. Eclipsing the first name (Yves) sucks the personal touch out to find a broader territory for the brand (Paris), the intuition is as perfect as the manifest is obvious: Saint Laurent will care about being the most parisian of french brands. To conclude, reset the boundaries, break down a diagnosis to finally inoculate new ideas [the show]. With this Spring Summer 2013 collection, Slimane certainly acknowledges Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy, but he also prepares in the undertext his new interpretation: Slimane likes a wild and free style. His effort is made in a sharp movement barely to be seen on the runway, in a game of dissimulation/reveal of a gaze under the shadow of a hat (what a perfect feminine accessory!), in the nervous fluidity of a cut.
All these details are sneaked into obvious styles recognizable by any fashionista, but they are as many arguments and characteristics that are the foundations of a major signature to come. Hedi SLimane is seizing power delicately: with an iron fist (indie metal?) in a velvet glove…