Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane certainly knows how to make an entrance. The setting for the show was the wonderfully baroque Hôtel national des Invalides, constructed under Louis XIV. The atmosphere was electric and the set minimal; the only hint to the nature of the new collection was the notebook that came with the invitation, showing collected drawings by Raymond Pettibon.
The American artist is the perfect poster child for Slimane’s new Saint Laurent, a bad boy of the art world who started out designing the iconic four-bar logo for his brother’s punk band, Black Flag, and worked with alternative heroes Sonic Youth on their 1990 album Goo. There weren’t any clear interpretations of Pettibon’s work on the runway, but his spirit was palpable. Slimane plucked a young garage band called Froth from obscurity to create the fantastic fuzz-filled soundtrack, General Education, and several other of his favorite bands that we are fast becoming familiar with walked the collection.
Without the music, the collection would be hard to define. Mainly because, what we are witnessing, season after season, is a slow redefining of an aesthetic. This season the silhouette was more relaxed, with shoulders on blazers dropping, and trousers showing volume, albeit slight, but at the same time it is a honing of a formula. Slimane knows how to create desire. The multitudes of fans testament to this were sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the front row, and standing ten deep to get a glimpse.
What is easy to overlook on the runway is the couture-like attention to detail in the application of the chain-work and sequining, and the exquisite hand present. We were left in awe of the flawless luxury and unstoppable progress of Hedi’s Saint Laurent.