Hedi Slimane’s, and I stress – Slimane’s, Saint Laurent took one of its wackier turns this season, in a grunge-fest of Southern Californian riders on the storm in Kurt Cobain sunglasses proportions. That may well be quite a mouthful, but SS16 at Saint Laurent presented the fashion pack with the kind of collection that is a hard pill to swallow. Sure, it had its uses, for luxury consumers who want that scuff-shoed thrift store look without setting foot in a thrift store, and admittedly some dazzling standalone pieces, but this was ultimately a turn that came off as somewhat try hard tripe.
Inspired by artist Billy Al Bengston, an inhabitant of Venice Beach California, Slimane infused each ensemble this season with Bengston’s subcultural approach to his vivid creations. This meant trippy, deliberately hogwash, blends of prints, patterns and motifs. Traces of Navajo Indian met army camo, leopards prints liaised with little house on the prairie and sequins were pitted against plaid, frayed lumberjack shirts. These walking sartorial contradictions were all propped up on skinny drainpipe jeans, so no change there then.
In Slimane’s defence the embellishments were stunning for one and secondly, his trendy boho Bolshevik attitude is exactly what put Yves Saint Laurent on the map many, many moons ago and is now keeping it there. By default, and in light of this fact, SS16 is going to perk up a lot of angst-ridden young fashion victims, even if it’s not chic for them to actually show any emotion that testifies to that.
However, the aftertaste of such a parade of what is essentially not necessarily anti-fashion or anti-style by any means, but certainly anti-chicness is a tragedy for anyone who knows that Yves Saint Laurent should at the very least be fashion’s very own maxim for real chic. That’s no questions asked.
by Liam Feltham
Images courtesy of Style.com