Hedi and Yves, sitting in a tree…Thursday, June 27 2013
(Ph.Saint LaurentResort 2014 by Hedi Slimane) y
So yesterday my Instagram account got flagged for nudity. Don’t get all excited (I know your sort!), my own body parts were not the ones causing havoc (not that they ever would). I always knew Hedi liked nothing more than to have everyone up in arms over his controversial ideas – but never in a million years did I think I would end up in the thick of it.
OK fine, I’m playing this up slightly, but that’s only because it shook me to the core. Call me dramatic, but I ain’t ready to be exiled from thefiltered version of my own life. Especially over a picture that will be running in most magazines and billboards. So while I immediately responded to the faceless Instagram team, pleading my innocence and blaming the whole incident on the irreverent French designer, I could’t help but admire what the man has achieved in such a short period of time.
(I’m not just referring to the fact that rockstars and boobs now make regular appearances in his official presentations.)
Let’s look at the fact here.2.2 million people tuned into Style.com to find out what his message for Spring and Fall would bring, leaving Saint Laurent in second place after Chanel among the most viewed collections – a first for the dormant maison.
His debut collection, dubbed boho luxe a la Rachel Zoe, failed to impress critics, who were expecting a revolution, then went flying off the shelves like nobody’s business. Withhis second collectioncame the revolution, but critics and sideline surveyors still remained unimpressed. In fact, to memory it is the first runway show that industry outsiders have felt the need to commentate. Outrage, disgust, disappointment were expressed, the general consensus being that Slimane’s high-street take on punk was an insult to Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy.
Or perhaps, let’s just say it as it is, Fashion is quite the amnesic hypocrite.
“A joke”(1966: sheer black dresses through which breasts were unmistakably on show); “A tour de force in bad taste” (1971: palazzo pants reminiscent of the Nazi occupation). Lest we forget, Yves’ parade of wit and transgression was not always met with raving reviews. Sure, all these ideas – Leultra chicSmoking in particular – have since been canonised, but that is not to say his mission to democratise fashion always went down well amongst fashion’s high and mighty. His youthful anti-establisment attitude brought streetwear in lux fabrics to stuffy parisian salons (the biker jacket gone haute was his doing). Slimane, with his “kinderwhore” babydoll dresses, leather minis lined with crucifixes, ripped tights and sloppy cardis is going down the same road.
And to those who might retort that this could have worked had fast fashion not since taken over, democratising every little aspect of high fashion by making it readily available to the masses, remember this: here are two opposing worlds. On the one hand you have the street girl who wants to look high fashion (present!); on the other, the rich chick with a subversive streak. At the end of the day, we can choose to hate the girl who can afford a sloppy cardi that looks like it may have once graced theTopshop floor, but the point is, it never did. It’s Saint Laurent.
Meanwhile, I’ve forgotten why we are here. Anja, Freja and now, the ultimate wild child Sasha have all entered the brand’s hall of fame. And for me, these exquisite shots are reason enough to embrace the new direction taken by this illustrious chunk of French heritage. Hedi knows when to shock, but also when to please. Resort, we can all agree, resolutely comes under the latter.
Oh, and a word of caution: make sure your cyber life is rated PG or you might find yourselves living on the outskirts of modern society.
(Ph. Saint Laurent Resort 2014 by Hedi Slimane)