Saint Laurent Paris Spring 2013

Fashion musical chairs came to an end for the season when Hedi Slimane presented his first women’s ready-to-wear to the world. Although his first pre-collection was only open to buyers, this was when Slimane would truly be analyzed, critiqued, chastised, or praised for his work by people all across the globe. Where, you might ask, does the collection fall? Well…

The show was grasped by the usual suspects of a Yves Saint Laurent – ooh, er, sorry, Saint Laurent Paris – collection, including fitted jackets and pants, strong yet feminine silhouettes, and of course, the ever trusty stiletto – a “tribute to the Tribute”, as Alexander Fury so wittily stated. But that’s where everything begins to go, well, a little bit south – Southern California, Los Angeles to be exact. Indeed, Slimane’s move of the design studio from its rooted home of Paris to the City of Angels was truly shining through throughout the entire collection, something that many had speculated before, and chastised after. Pussy bow blouses in sheers, floppy hats, flowing dresses, skirts and gowns, with the much needed detailing such as glittering embellishments and leather galore, dominated the runway, in an attempt to bring back the era of boho-chic and Coachella-easy that was so embraced by Sienna Miller and Kate Moss in the late noughties. The bad news? It didn’t work out as well as Slimane may have hoped.

Whilst the technical skills and thought were indeed there – a new era of the Yves Saint Laurent brand in the form of a rebranding of the RTW and stores would only signify a similar change that would catapult the brand in to mega superstardom – it seems that the execution was not. Whilst the attempt was made to reach an unparalleled boho-easy-chic look to revolutionize the way we thought about the brand after Stefano Pilati’s tenure at the maison – which was signified by sharp shoulders, a focus on impeccable tailoring, and of course, SEX! – it seems that the collection fell short of this, and ended up as a Stevie Nicks/Rachel Zoe love child. And though the collection seemed to act as an homage to the brand’s namesake designs during the free-spirited 1970s, which of course, further supports Slimane’s efforts to bring the brand back to its roots of yesteryear, it seemed contrived. And though the execution of his look back in time was indeed successful – wide brimmed hats, flowing fabrics, and the ever chic cape all screamed the then ‘look’ – it seemed to get lost in translation.

If one was to turn back the clock, and regard Slimane’s appointment, one might have considered it to be a new, exciting move for the Yves Saint Laurent family – an exciting, austere, minimalistic, yet somewhat California grunge chic, would have been on the minds of the global fashion powerhouses. But for his debut collection, it seems that his approach was definitely not what many were expecting. Perhaps many need more time to process, but the collection felt it would be Taylor Swift’s wardrobe if she went goth – but Taylor Swift goth, not ‘goth’ goth. One thing’s for certain, however, for Saint Laurent Paris, this is only a stepping stone, and it can only go up from here.