It's not just the radical shift in proportion, from
pipe-cleaner to Oxford bags. Something of greater
significance seems to be changing for Hedi Slimane.
Following his show, he admitted to a new mood of
melancholy. The staging certainly supported such a
notion. His boysall thin as usual, some now
fearfully attenuatedwalked in shadows,
illuminated by a pillar of fire that burned biblically
at the end of the runway throughout the presentation.
Whatever the deeper symbolism, Slimane is certainly in
a reflective frame of mind. He talked about a return
to the couture concept with which he launched his
career (phoenix to the flame?), and the precision and
detailing of his clothes were a tribute to the
handiwork of his atelier. Nothing displays such skills
better than eveningwear; was that why Slimane's
collection was dominated by variations on Le Smoking?
It made for an intriguing tip of the cap to Yves Saint
Laurent, the master in whose footsteps he once
Such clothes also seemed designed to appeal to Hedi's
female clientele, most obviously items like a beaded
bolero, a tiny gilet with kimono sleeves, or a jacket
that turned to reveal a beaded, ruched back. Perhaps
that's his way of announcing he's ready to stretch a
little. Still, there were plenty of items that were
unmistakably from a man's wardrobe: a tweed topcoat, a
duffel with braided closings, a pinstriped suit, a
black leather blouson. Meanwhile, the formal
detailsthe satin waistband on a pair of
trousers, pearl buttons on a shirt, the ribbons tied
at the throatwere balanced by the waistband of
old jeans worn as a grunge cummerbund.