Last night after Hedi Slimane showed what can arguably be described as part four in an ongoing series titled “Saint Laurent,” the casual reviews that provided post-show chatter as we exited the venue revealed an interesting variety of reactions.
I heard several editors speak in its favor while others continued to lament about missing the late Yves. One woman said, “I don’t know, I’m a 70’s Saint Laurent girl” and all I could think was this: when Yves Saint Laurent was producing his safari jacket and putting women — for the first time ever — in male tuxedos, were spectators thrilled? When the clothes were devastatingly 70s even though Mr. Saint Laurent was designing in the throes of the 70s, did wearers not think, Why can’t he be more forward thinking? Who’s to say that 40 years from now, the next generation of junior critics won’t be watching the storied house and say, “Man, remember when it was all about the aughts?”
I think we’re ready to let him in. The show was unapologetic and artful about its riff on decidedly feminine yet male-derivative floppy bow ties and large hats and the essence of grunge that comes replete with a dose of glamour, manifesting itself in the form of glittering coats and Courrèges-esque go-go boots that run deep through the neo-blood of Saint Laurent.
And I look forward to seeing what happens. There’s an indispensable swagger that embodies the Saint Laurent wearer’s step. You can’t make it up, or pretend it’s not there, and you don’t have to like it, but there is some value in trying to understand that Mr. Slimane is not all that different from Mr. Saint Laurent.
Different decades, yes. Different themes, absolutely. But the personality still evinces one spirit and that is of the iconoclast persuasion.
Of course, during the time of Saint Laurent, to be an iconoclast meant to be different — to wear a tuxedo in lieu of a dress, to revolt. In 2014, the concept of abandoning what is societally normal is much more imbued with actually looking “normal.” (Cue conversation of the most recent annoying millenial hashtag to plague social media: #normcore.)
Currently, we occupy an era of personal style and as a result of the over-yet-underwhelming assortment of diverse fashion, trends in the traditional sense barely exist any longer. So far more interesting and frankly iconoclastic than disparity (if we’re all trying to look offbeat, aren’t we decidedly on beat?) is to slip into a uniform that is equal parts reliable, comfortable and cool. And no one provides that uniform better than Hedi Slimane.
Images via The Cut & Vogue