Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Saint Laurent Paris

Hedi Slimane's first-ever women's collection debuted in Paris last October for the house of Saint Laurent. Slimane's runway projections for Spring/Summer 2013 resurrected (virtually intact) certain favored 70s silhouettes from the Saint Laurent archives.

Fashion writers had not expected this fidelity to the legacy of the eponymous Yves (who died in 2008). "Traditional" and "commercial" were two of the adjectives widely used. On the other hand, complaints became loud and numerous over Slimane's decision to discard YSL as a label and replace it with Saint Laurent Paris (or SLP). Several fashion critics suggested that YSL had become symbolic of French national identity and should not be cavalierly tossed aside. They pointed out  that Karl Lagerfeld had been running Chanel for the past thirty years without finding it necessary to alter the inherited logo of interlocked C's.
In apparent retaliation for such criticism, Slimane barred certain reporters from the fashion show and announced in advance that he would not give backstage interviews or answer questions from anybody.  

Slimane (immediately above) must have known far in advance of that October runway show in Paris that it would be endorsed on the January cover of US Vogue (with Gwen Stefani in one of his trademark skinny suits). He must also have had a pretty good idea that Kate Moss (among others) would swiftly and eagerly be photographed wearing his work. Protected by such powers, he could proceed to treat the press with calculated rudeness and create a buzz of controversy more valuable as PR than any amount of bland approval.