Rock bad girls from Courtney Love to Sioux Banshee and from Deborah Harry to Nancy Spungen seemed to be Hedi Slimane's inspiration for his much anticipated second showing for the house of Saint Laurent: he himself described the look as "California grunge". The sort of leather dresses so brief our grannies might once have described them as belts (complete with buckles), babydolls, deliberately worn tartan lumberjack shirts and mohair cardigans all loomed large. They were teamed with fishnet tights (with and without crystal embellishment), flat black boots made for marching not tottering and, of course, tousled hair that a generation long gone by would doubtless have argued needed washing.
It looked strong and smelt like teen spirit but how does all of the above tally with this great French status name? Actually, the time-honoured Saint Laurent signatures were in place. The pussy bow came at the throat of empire-line minis in tin foil fabrics printed with flowers. Leopard print coats were worn over more. Sequins were embroidered onto capes and the fluffy chubby and Le Smoking were both present if not entirely correct.
If this was a determinedly youthful and accessible collection, that belied the fact that the attention to detail that bourgeois French fashion is known and respected for was in evidence also. Knife-pleat skirts, encrusted puffed sleeves and fabrications that were often not as straightforward as they seemed all made an appearance.The core Saint Laurent customer, meanwhile, may not quite be ready for an indecent hem line (flashing her knickers to the world is unlikely to be a priority) but she'll cut quite a dash in a beautifully cut Nappa trench coat or indeed any of the skinny tailoring that in at least some instances ensured modesty was in tact.