If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That was surely the thinking from Saint Laurent front man Hedi Slimane this season, now in his third year at the helm of the house. With this collection, which proceeded to be another dollop of everything that we have come to expect from his hand, the designer continued in his pursuit of outfitting rock chicks the world over (world domination is no exaggeration).
His runway was akin to the O2 stadium; well, sort of, in that it looked like a stage that a grimy band might step out on at any given moment, bad vocals and all. Except they didn’t. Blinding stadium lights switched on and the runway was elevated up to music festival heights (which added a bitter taste of self-importance, the audience now serving as diehard fans, looking up in adoration). There were tulle prom dresses worn with mannish tweed blazers or leather jackets and laddered fishnet tights; the super skinny ‘Le Smoking’ complete with braces, twinkling dishevelled party dresses, fur coats (the sort that you might hope to find on a good day at Camden market) leopard capes, and a lot of micro mini leather skirts, everything atop spiky boots. No surprises.
What these mean in the grand scheme of things? While this looks like everything we have ever seen before, and his critics are left wondering how – and perhaps more pertinently, when – he’s going to move things along, Slimane is doing something right: sales at Saint Laurent are rocketing. Also on the plus side: everything you have ever bought here since his arrival is still relevant, and at these price tags, that’s no bad thing.
LEGS, legs, legs. Really, they go on for miles and miles at Tom Ford. Clad in giant sweeping flares, or stretched out under mini tunics with plunging necklines, peeping through sheer hold-ups and perched atop those stonking, platform clogs. Everything here pointed to long, lean legs.
There were hints of Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent here tonight – in that gritty, Modish Sixties vibe, in that matted, been-up-all-night spiky hair and nightclub-ready smoky make-up, but Slimane doesn’t own the decade, or that look. Ford was inspired by his own collection of vintage Carlo Molino photographs in addition to some of his own designs from the late Nineties. He was smart to weave in a few re-jigs of his greatest Gucci hits; a white long sleeved minidress with circular cut-outs at the hip for example recalled the white jersey gown from Gucci’s autumn/winter 1996 campaign.
The show rounded up with a series of knockout sheer black gowns decorated in sequinned harnesses or with satin bra cups and a scattering of chiffon applique petals. A pair of black leggings and dramatic cape combo – entirely encrusted in twinkling black sequins from head to toe – was the dark follow up to that white caped gown donned by Gwyneth Paltrow and lauded the world over; plenty here to whet the appetite of red carpet starlets.
HEDI SLIMANE can certainly draw a crowd. His stellar front row this evening was peppered with a host of musicians – Lenny Kravitz, Lou Doillon, Miles Kane, and Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo of Daft Punk, Peter Doherty and Carl Barat of The Libertines, in addition to former Yves Saint Laurent muses, Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux.
His little black book that serves as the show invitation featured a catalogue of works by Robert Heinecken, the American artist best known for his appropriation of imagery – sometimes pornographic – from magazines and packaging. It’s an area that clearly interests Slimane, remember, last autumn/winter, it was John Baldessari another artist of the same ilk whose images featured on these pages.
There is something of that in Slimane – ok, less of the pornographic, perhaps (but there is no denying his girl has edge) – but the designer certainly has a knack of taking all the good bits of what’s gone before and re-proposing them as new ideas for now.
There were 55 looks here, and every one will be poured over by his coterie of fans. From the opening cherry printed one-shouldered fluttery dress – not entirely romantic when teamed with ‘cheap’ 10-denier tights – to the black leather coat, micro tan suede jacket with popper fastening (and a host of other cropped leather jackets, all updates to his hit fringed numbers that sold like hot cakes – despite the price tag circling a figure of £2500) to the camo army jackets, pinstripe blazers, denim hot pants and star print mini dresses. Girls – and women – will want it all. No, there wasn’t anything that we hadn’t ever seen before but it didn’t matter, because it all felt terrifically right again – yes, even those cheap tights – and isn’t it that that matters?
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Not only did Julianne Moore bring home an award for Best Actress last night at the Critics’ Choice Awards, she was also best dressed in black lace. Wearing a Saint Laurent gown, Moore managed to look both sexy and demure—the same went for Michelle Monaghan, who presented an award in a sleeveless, lacy Elie Saab ensemble.
Black lace is a risky statement that can go wrong oh-so-easily (the look can feel more Grammys than Oscars, if you get the gist), but Moore and Monaghan gave a new, elegant life to the fabrication. The trick? A high neck paired with some discreet décolletage.