Tuesday, 1 October 2013

SAINT LAURENT S/S 2014

As new creative director of YSL, Hedi Slimane has been criticised more heavily than most of his predecessors in recent seasons. First of all came the controversial move of re-branding the fashion house as 'Saint Laurent Paris', a move which many felt was a step away from the house's iconic heritage. Then there was the collection itself - clearly aimed at a young market, Slimane tried to reinvent grunge and (in my own personal opinion), missed the mark somewhat. Of course the clothing is meant to be wearable but a few looks strayed into high-street territory as opposed to looking as if they justified their (comparatively) hefty price-tags. So this season, the pressure was on for Slimane to deliver, and he has delivered a collection that is generally stronger than its predecessor.

Maybe the one problem that I occasionally have with Saint Laurent is the taste level - the use of leopard print is occasionally fantastic (the dress pictured above, for example, manages to look cool with its short, sharp hemline and reflective fabric), but another incarnation saw a leopard print mini teamed with a hot pink bandeau which missed the mark entirely - the skirt wasn't quite short enough to work, and the whole thing came off a little too shapeless. The patent bow belts also looked a little cheap and were sometimes used when not necessary (see, again, the dress pictured above).
However, there were more references to YSL heritage in this collection, and it definitely felt more researched as opposed to a complete rebrand. 'Le Smoking', for example, was reworked into a series of slick androgynous looks, which worked brilliantly when teamed with sheer leather-trimmed blouses (see above). There was also a Breton stripe in there, a white jumper with sharp lines of blood-red crystals, teamed with a leather skirt and metallic fringed bolero - this look was one of the highlights of the show, and it felt like the purest embodiment of Slimane's aim for this season. The stripe was a reference to the brand's French heritage, and the leather of the skirt and glamour of the bolero provided a look that was both sophisticated and fresh. 
Overall, this collection was more assured than Slimane's d├ębut, a move in the right direction for the brand. Luckily, the items from last collection were accessible enough to sell well and featured in plenty of editorials, it just felt like too much of a departure for a brand with such a rich history. This time around, the collection was recognisable as both YSL and Slimane - the tailoring and the edge of YSL's past were there, as were Slimane's grungier preferences, and whilst the looks occasionally strayed again into high-street territory, the overall aesthetic was distinctive and the collection featured more hits than misses. 

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