Hedi Slimane set up his new Saint Laurent collection in a cavernous second-floor space at the Grand Palais last night, at the tail end of the Couture shows. Not all brands can be bothered to create a sense of occasion when it comes to pre-fall. The season has turned into a two-month-long slog of showroom appointments. Slimane deserves some credit for finally sending it out in style.
According to his press representatives, the designer conceived the collection as a rock star's wardrobe. Not unlike his menswear show of a few days ago, it was unapologetically young, with an emphasis on the casual. The floor-sweeping capes of his Spring debut were out, and leather pelmet minis—more belt than skirt—were in. On the sweeter side of the story, Peter Pan-collared, sixties-ish minidresses had a schoolgirl vibe, even if they weren't that innocent in black-on-black. Blue jeans, fringed leather jackets, shrunken blazers with elbow patches, and toggle coats rounded out the offerings.
All of it was polished, but only the pantsuits and the smokings—skinny and scalpel-sharp, as is the Slimane way—seemed to connect overtly with the house's legacy. What kind of role heritage will play in the new Saint Laurent is very much an open question. Whether or not its past—which means so much to France—should be part of its future will be debated forever. To this editor, luxed-up basics like the tailoring (less so the schoolgirl stuff) seem like a smart foundation upon which to rebuild a brand.