Post Paris XXIX

A 'False Encyclopaedia' double feature with John-Michael O'Sullivan, discussing:
Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2013

I don't like Saint Laurent. 

I don't like the new stores with their funeral-parlour marble and virtual-reality grids. I don't like the website's lifeless grid of tiny, flattened clothes-icons lost in acres of whiteness. I don't like or understand the disconnect between the flailing, messy energy of the shows and the slick, obvious luxury of the 'real' clothes that come out of the shadows and onto the shop floor. And most of all, i don't like it when fairytales go wrong; when the lost boy (the one you always hoped might return) comes home from a faraway wilderness to inherit his father's kingdom - but who, once he gets on the throne, reveals he doesn't want to play anymore.

But that's enough about me.

Hedi Slimane is doing his own thing at Saint Laurent, like it or not. Obstinately, obsessively, imperviously imposing what a Project Runway judge might call a 'point of view'. That viewpoint is one filled with the idea of clothing as something that's damaged, and second-hand, and to be consumed by the young; and it's one that seems diametrically opposed to everyone else in Paris - a city consumed by the idea of mature couture.

You have to admire the sheer bloody-mindedness of someone who could seemingly so easily get it 'right' - but who seems intent on forging his way brutally into 'wrong'. But what's fascinating is how, in the middle of all that pile-up of sequins and plaid and wispy vintage florals, your eye grasps for the tiniest shred of a connection to something that might have once been 'Yves Saint Laurent' - polka-dotted sheers, and chiffon ruffles, and a slinky black Belle de Jour trench. Because that's what 'right' is, here; familiarity filtered, and played by the rules. I imagine Slimane would say that's our problem, not his.

Hedi Slimane never was modern. Even the skinny suit was a romantic ideal, often accompanied by short embellished military jackets, bows or velvet. And when transferring his polished black and white photography into womenswear, the eye for texture, pattern and surface is being revealed as a dishevelled vision. His femme seems to have sprung from the mean girl cast of The Craft, Gossip Girl or Easy A, creating: heroin heroines.

1. Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2013
2. Hedi Slimane Yves Saint Laurent Intime, November 2008
3. Steven Meisel Grunge and Glory, December 2002
4. Steven Meisel Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent, Winter 2002
5. The Craft Andrew Fleming, 1996
6. Hedi Slimane Diary, 2006-2013
7. Winona Ryder 1990s
8. Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2013

More reviews by John-Michael O'Sullivan 1972 Projects


Duck said...

It's amazing how in two seasons a high-fashion name has been reduced to diffusion line status.

Charlie said...

I actually like the stores redesign and the online flattened images against a stark white background, I just wish the catwalk looked the same!

LYNN and HORST said...

I actually want the leopard shirt that is in stores now...

Duck said...

Yeah I really liked the stores I saw in Paris.