Should Hedi Slimane ever decide to plump for a Plan B career, there’s little doubt he would make a faultless music manager. Hype has been a dirty word in recent seasons – too connected to the implosion of the designer-as-God cult, so irredeemably shattered by Galliano-gate. But that sense of frisson, while arguably anachronistic, brought an definite sense of energy to Hedi Slimane’s debut for YSL at the Grand Palais last night.
Cloaked in darkness a FROW which included – wait for it – Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, Jessica Chastain, Valérie Trierweiler (France’s First Lady) and Salma Hayek as well as a roll call of designers including Marc Jacobs, Alber Elbaz, Ricardo Tisci, Vivienne Weastwood and Azzedine Alaia were poised to get the first look at the most hotly anticipated collection of the season.
The almighty rivalry between Slimane and Raf Simons at Dior – both debuting at major French fashion houses this season, and both with a rep for minimal style - has been the biggest story of PFW thus far. Raf, who was first out on Friday presented a fresh, more feminine take on his spare style signatures, clocking up what has been widely considered as a hit for Dior. So the pressure was on Monsier Slimane to offer his riposte.
The Saint Laurent collection this season totally bypassed the prevailing conversion on minimalism harking back instead to the substance-fuelled era of 70s rock ‘n’ roll. While the audience may have been expecting a modern collection of precision tailoring, they were instead treated to the ultimate groupie wardrobe.
Fringed suede jackets, Stevie Nicks-esque maxi dresses complete with sheer blouson sleeves, pussy bows and disco-ready blazers – all that was missing was a Rolling Stone on each model’s arm. As for Slimane’s fabled tailoring, skinny but slouch pants were paired with cropped tail jackets and gorgeous bikers. The floor-sweeping hemlines were often matched with billowing full length capes and wide brimmed hats accessorized nearly every look. This silhouette was given a haunting, witchy vibe in the finale as models stalked the catwalk two by two closing the show to the sound of exuberant backstage applause.
While most definitely not a clean slate visionary, Slimane has proved himself a true disciple to Yves Saint Laurent’s legend and created a collection which rocker girls will go mad for. Expect to see that fringed suede jacket coming very shortly to a high street near you.
Watch the highlights below: