Paris Fashion Week fall 2013: Saint Laurent review

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

PARIS -- California ladies of the canyon was the vibe of Hedi Slimane’s first women’s Saint Laurent ready-to-wear runway collection shown in October. And this time, it was California grunge.

With Jessica Chastain, Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund, Pierre Berge, Betty Catroux and other fashion luminaries in the front row, Slimane showed his fall 2013 collection for the house he renamed Saint Laurent on Monday night during Paris Fashion Week.

The look: Off-duty musicians and models. L.A.'s grungy, night-crawling rock ‘n’ roll set, with nods to Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Slimane, you’ll remember, has based himself in Los Angeles, and has his design team travel back and forth from Paris. On the runway, it was all about super short leather skirts and mini-dresses, worn with crystal-studded tights or body stockings, and black combat boots. Following the grunge theme were plaid flannel shirts (we were making bets on how much they will cost -- $1,500, $2,500?) and grandpa cardigans worn over baby doll dresses. For evening, miniskirts and cropped jackets sparkled with sequin embroideries.


The scene: The cliquish fashion crowd, a darkened room and blaring music, “Tidal Wave 13” recorded live in Australia and Asia by Thee Oh Sees, according to the press notes.

The verdict: A head-scratcher. It seems like Slimane is trying to distance the brand from the fusty couture tradition and connect it more to the spirit of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, the ready-to-wear label launched in 1966 that became synonymous with youth culture. (It’s notable that Slimane also recently relocated the Saint Laurent atelier in Paris from the tony Right Bank to the hipper Left Bank.) But 1966 was a different time. Today, fast-fashion brands like H&M;, which showed here earlier last week, Topshop and Zara have made big businesses out of bringing the street to the store instantly, with new deliveries arriving on a weekly basis. These retro 1990s Saint Laurent clothes didn’t look much different from what’s already available from those brands for a fraction of the price. When Saint Laurent himself did rich hippie, it looked rich; this didn’t look like rich grunge.


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