With Hedi Slimane, you’re either a true believer or you’re not. His vision for Saint Laurent, like his dresses, allows for virtually no wiggle room. There are still naysayers. But for every person who walks out complaining that it looks like Forever 21, as we overheard tonight, or that it never changes, there’s another person, usually younger (in reality or spirit), who is itching to be the Saint Laurent girl.
This collection will doubtlessly prove as divisive as the rest. It started with a ceremonial rising of the catwalk. As the floor lifted, the audience got a view of flashing fluorescent lights and metal scaffolding. It looked like the underbelly of an arena stage, which made the models who strode out on top of it rock stars or rock-star groupies. Their mini crinis, cigarette pants with suspenders, and Siouxsie Sioux eye shadow placed us a few years further on from Slimane’s Sunset Strip-y Spring collection. More likely, the designer was merely picking up where his men’s show in January—the one he described as an homage to the young musicians of Paris—left off.
Slimane’s Saint Laurent woman has always had an edge, but this season she’s unapologetically a bad girl, wearing leather leggings with cutouts all the way up the thighs; a black leather dress slit up to her undies, assuming she’s even bothered to wear any; and ripped and shredded tights above black leather ankle boots. The shoes were killer, but those tights veered dangerously close to cliché. And they distracted from the fine workmanship (one of Slimane’s secret weapons) that defined a lot of what we saw tonight. Numbers like a black and gold polka-dot beaded one-sleeve cocktail dress or a strapless style crisscrossed with zippers, a tulle crumb catcher frilling out from the bust.
Alongside the haute stuff, of which there was more than ever, there were a good number of the kind of animal-print capes, navy peacoats, leather motorcycle jackets, and patchwork furs he’s been showing since his YSL beginnings two-and-a-half years ago, and that have been turning up with increasing frequency all over the crowds at fashion month and beyond. For a designer as disruptive as Slimane is, he sure sells a hell of a lot of merch. If some looks here were too familiar, even for his fans, there was also plenty to inspire lust in bad girls everywhere.
Nicole Phelps, via style.com