From Last Night in Paris: The Stuff You Should Know About Saint Laurent’s Couture Collection

Never mind the clothes — those are great — we’re going back in time


Here are some facts about why the fashion industry is having a minor titty attack about the new Saint Laurent collection:

+He showed part one of the collection in Los Angeles, which is where he keeps the design studio of Saint Laurent despite the fact that the late Yves Saint Laurent was a French designer — perhaps the most French designer. France is not similar to L.A. at first glance, but I am sure if we think on it, we can draw the parallels.

+His initial viewing was to the chagrin of many editors: it occurred the night before the start of New York Fashion Week and thus meant that Slimane was aware many fashion “insiders” would not be able to attend, but he did not really care.

+His not caring sealed a nail in the coffin of purpose. Before it would even start, the omnipresent question marks shaped like huge-ass elephants started to sprout. If we’re not needed at a show, why do we make ourselves feel so indispensable?

+Because it was only part one meant there would be a part two, which would include the insiders who were previously left to pick up the pieces of their egos. This started to unscrew the aforementioned coffin nail. The nail unscrewed even more when the rumors began to swarm about how small this show would be: 150 people maximum, in a small but intricate place: the new couture atelier of Saint Laurent in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (the left bank, historically and popularly referred to as the more artsy bank, which varies tremendously from the right bank, where most of the events of fashion week take place).

And when the show was finally set to take place? It was brightly lit, editors’ names were engraved on the seats where they would sit, and — no surprise here — it looked a lot like the ateliers of yore where collections used to be shown. There was a carpeted staircase, models cascading with their numbers being announced and all. Cause of setting, specifically when Slimane is almost known for the huge dark spaces he is wont to set up, which truly make the energy? He wouldn’t be showing part two of a ready-to-wear collection.

He’d be showing couture! Made to order clothing in the midst of a pret-a-porter season in the heart of fashion week (do note the closing red rabbit coat for the pun indicated here)! All the editors would feel like it was 1958 again and Gabrielle Chanel wasn’t far away. Surely, this nostalgia would open the coffin that was being sealed completely and resurrect Purpose once and for all.

There was a lot of talk before the show of Hedi Slimane leaving Saint Laurent. Maybe he’d go to Chanel, where Karl Lagerfeld currently reigns supreme, and I do mean supreme. Maybe he wouldn’t. But no one seemed especially stunned by his leaving. The critics have never been over the moon for his interpretation on the House that Yves Built. But last night, he got a resounding round of applause. A sort of standing ovation as designated by a series of glowing reviews and gasps of relief. And per that gasp of relief — where’s that coming from? A genuinely strong collection that is infusing new life into the house when we’ve been quickly trained to assume Slimane is out? (For what it’s worth, I’ve been a fan since the beginning, and found this collection especially invigorating in its less cynical-than-usual take on the 80s. However, it was hard not to be distracted by the extreme body type of this season’s models and the lack of diversity in 2016. What message does this send about his idea of modern couture?)

Or are The Elders simply reacting to how they feel after having spent a night back in time, before the Internet, before the cell phones, when we still used pencils to take notes and place orders and fashion was still a pipe dream ripe to explode and dependent on the people who would catch up the pieces?

Photographs via Vogue Runway; carousel photograph courtesy of Saint Laurent. 


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  • great collection, only silence and mode.


  • Natalie

    Am I the only one thinking: “Cindy Lauper, Madonna, Versace, 80s, I love it – but far tooooo skinny (I know that he said, he´s been skinny his whole life and therefore thinks his models´ shape is totally legit and that he´s since ever booking just super skinny girls, but I don´t like that slightly anorexic look)”?

    • Leandra Medine

      oh im with you on that. The skinny thing is hard to miss, 100% and seems pretty rooted in his dna. and makes you wonder who these clothes are for — humans or hangers

      • Natalie

        …and now I´ve got the Killers stuck in my head “are we humans, or are we hangers?”

      • picarica

        thank you Natalie and Leandra/Team MR. I got blocked on another site for mentioning this. But honestly, the body politics here are totally retro in the worst way. (Please don’t block me.)

        • Alison

          Same response here. I didn’t notice the clothes because I could not look away from the overwhelmingly skinny, mostly white models. My legs don’t look anything like that. Not buying any of this in the near future! Or, well, ever.

          • Rachel Vee

            I am so glad that I’m not the only one! I got to #15 and had to stop because of how GROSS these models are. I couldn’t even tell you what the clothes looked like, only that the models were terrifying. As someone building a long-term (read: not fast fashion) wardrobe I can’t, in good conscious, buy or recommend someone else buy SL items.

    • Lilly

      also: so white! 80s ysl throwback seems perfect opp for some ladies of colour, no?

      • Natalie

        So true! How come, that the last Valentino show caused an uproar about diversity but those white anorexic girls don’t? Where are the anorexic poc?

  • Lilly

    all over that starry starry bomber jacket

  • Out of 42 looks only two looks were giving to models of color. As much as this collection is major, the lack of diversity is not. I love Hedi and what he has done for Saint Laurent, but when will designers appreciate the beauty of different ethnicities? As a 19-year-old wannabe fashion blogger, it’s hard to feel pretty or “wanted” in an industry that doesn’t want to recognize minorities.

  • Lou

    Love the clothing, but it’s distracting to look at women parading through who all look sick and starving. It’s a deeply rooted thing: I am a woman so I should be as thin as possible, to take up as little space as possible, while wearing loud, look-at-me clothing designed by a man. It’s a mentally ill point of view, and I hope it’s changing. I hope this extreme show of his is similar to the republicans: a fear-based death rattle.

  • Amy Mills

    As much as I myself shirk away from the thought of living in LA, it always bugs me when people think Slimane is slandering the brand by designing SL out of its new headquarters in LA. I feel like YSL found the most inspiration and sense of self from his upbringing in French Algeria and – though he definitely drew from/helped establish the Parisian aesthetic – it’s not a stretch to see the similarities between the two environments

  • Lorena C

    Fashion Week will be Fashion Week, Paris will be Paris and Saint Laurent will only put BMI 16 models down their catwalk until the end of times.

  • Not only were the 80s synonymous with some pretty daring fashion choices, but also some pretty heavy drug usage that is still culturally resonant today (ie Whitney Houston & the Bill Cosby sexual assaults). To deny that the two were pretty interrelated would be to deny both fashion and human history. As drug related deaths are becoming considered more and more of an epidemic today and, as somewhat of a parallel, the styles of the 80s are making their way back onto the runway I had hoped that there would have been some kind of incorporation of what we have learned in the intervening years whether it be a reference, acknowledgement, or conscious turn in a different direction. From the makeup to the hemlines, though, this seems to be more of the same.

  • Elenka Montesinos

    My Goshhhhh!! So 80´s so YVES!!
    Adore every single piece. Only snag i see is that too skinny thing…Im agree with Natalie and Leandra below…

  • cec

    This whole collection would be perfect for Fran. Too perfect.