It is the time when Collections are coming to stores and we are so excited to take a glimpse on them. During our trip to London it was definitely a "to do", so hanging around on Oxford Street, Selfridges was the perfect spot to be surrounded by high-end fashion that obviously we cannot reach behind our laptop. In store like Selfridges you expect to have at each corner OMG-WHAT THE WHAT-F****-DARING pieces and that is what happened. It was like having a complete wardrobe at hand and that's probably the defintion of a big mega-boutique, having the impression all the clothes can be yours ( It's insane to have a huge concentration of must haves all around you because these products cause a great addiction)!
The most surprising piece came from a brand we did not expect to be surprised by anymore. It was a heavy black biker jacket with a black fur on the back and it was Saint Laurent. Yeah it was Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane that made us speechless. Honestly we did not get what he did at YSL since he had been appointed at the head of the luxury house. We were like what about Yves's legacy? What's about Stephano Pilati's legacy? Is it Saint Laurent for real or is it a big joke?
The point with Slimane is that he brought with him an aesthetic inspired by PUNK that he had already explored in the early 2000. At that time Monsieur Saint Laurent was still alive and Slimane was giving birth to YSL menswear and after two seasons he was appointed to create Dior menswear that became Dior Homme. We were like what's the point to re-work Saint Laurent with the same aesthetics? How can Slimane interest us a little? What we are sure of is that Slimane always stays true to his own DNA, designing "COME AS YOU ARE" collections for Saint Laurent, purposedly bringing the low and the profane and that is so exciting! Remenber Monsieur Saint Laurent saying that he did not want to dress the bourgeois because they are the defintion of boring. So we cannot doubt Slimane's work at Saint Laurent anymore.
Comparing to the "witchery" SS13 collection, both menswear and womenswear AW13 are a step forward, a new dialogue with YSL codes that Slimane has improved with the idea of "clothes for heroes". The collections are haunted by iconical figures such as Kurt Cobain and the grunge's aesthetics, but the former inspiration above all is what Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren created in the mid seventies. " I don't think punk would have happened without Malcom and Vivienne to be honest. Something would have happened, and it might even have been called punk but it wouldn't have looked the way it did. And the look of it was so important" (Chrissie Hynde - The Pretenders). The beautiful and traditional tartan, a canonical element of the British culture, becoming an emblem for the roaring and rebellious youth that Slimane softly re-worked in long shirt, dress, mohair sweater and a-line coat, contributing to balance a mix of formal and controversy.
Controversy is not about literally designing the sexiest wardrobe ever, but it is about provocation. Here controversy works at different levels and that is what makes us want to scream that both collection was just hoax. We have in mind of what we can call the YSL X Helmut Newton era, in the way the early version of the 90's "porno chic". But sex is not the first pitch, it is something more, the relation between the established luxury brand and the deranged aesthetical inspiration, coming from D.I.Y hardware: the rip skinny jeans with chains in the tears. Here it is exactly the illustration of the punk style with high end fashion: these jeans do cost a thing! Another level of sophistication comes from the "would be" bondage pieces, all made of soft and nappa leather such as the Mondrian dress, buckled dress and skirt, zip skirt and its mini version, mini bow collars and cut-out trousers.
Slimane also "stole" the D.I.Y. Destroy attitude that he explored with the knitting. Striped wool mohair, red leopard mohair, wool cashmere sweater and all over jumpsuit tulle sweater, all basics that stand out. One can say that is a kind of stereotype, cliché, but one can also label it vintage like the striped mohair, so Kurt Cobain. It's obviously not a new idea, but a kind of tribute, like people cannot forget about it. Slimane did make a serious come-back and it is kinda punk to do such collections. Are there any statements behind these collections? Actually we don't give a F****! And we just want to add no matter if you got some punk in you or not, just COME AS YOU ARE because at the end of the day, WHO CARES?!
The runway and backstage pictures come from Style.com and Dazed Digital
The other pictures can be found in Punk: Chaos to Couture, the exhibition catalogue by Andrew Bolton