Rock style is the opposite of a passing fancy for Hedi Slimane, whose second men’s show for Saint Laurent was an ode to an imaginary band of beanpole Teddy Boys. Hair slicked back into ducktails, tight pants hitched to the navel, his gangly young models made up in attitude what they lacked in body mass.
There are some who see little of the late Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy in Slimane’s music-obsessed makeover of the house, exemplified by his grunge-fueled debut and the recent casting of Marilyn Manson in an ad campaign. Yet the young fashion constituents he seems to be targeting — they of the 27-inch waistline, like Harry Brant, who sat front row with the likes of Milla Jovovich — won’t question the cool factor of sparkly crooner jackets, bolo ties and cropped Western boots in Pepto-Bismol pink.
The presence of designers including Azzedine Alaïa and Rei Kawakubo, almost invisible in the third row of the retailer section, speak to Slimane’s stature on the fashion scene. And there was plenty of striking design here: an army green cotton parka cut like a tailcoat; a patchwork leather jacket in a racing-flag pattern; minimalist waistcoats that were little more than vest points on a harness.
Compelling, too, were his variety of youthful jackets (chopstick thin, bolero short, or roomier and elongated), his freewheeling plays on formalwear (leather lapels and sparkles galore) and his fancy Fifties varsity jackets in gleaming satin with crystal embroideries on the back.
There’s a force behind reputation and design conviction, and as costumey as his collection sometimes appeared, it is bound to be influential.