New York – A Designer , working in the American market, wears many hats. In order to be successful you must be able to forecast trends, execute technical designs, send and answer emails from overseas manufactures, and the list goes on and on. Designing is a 24/7 days a week ‘process’ that envelopes you, transforming you,creating a new vision for the world to see.
Last week, a few hours after the sun has set on the vast glass roof of the historic Grand Palais in Paris, all eyes will be on the man described as “the Prince of Darkness”.
Will the hollow-eyed fashion genius Hedi Slimane, the man appointed creative director at Yves Saint Laurent last year, rise from the catwalk to triumph over the critical forces of evil? Or will he be thrown to the impeccably groomed wolverines sitting in the front rows, much as the iconoclastic artists, including Matisse, were in this same place a century ago?
The last time Slimane was here in October to show off his first womenswear collection for the fashion house, the jury was out on whether it was a success. The influential New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn thought not, saying it “lacked a new fashion spirit” and that she “expected more from his debut”, earning herself a petulant rebuke from the designer and a ban – possibly lifelong – from his runway shows.
Others moaned that Slimane, 44, had usurped the French fashion demigod Yves Saint Laurent by removing his first name from the brand title. This prompted the appearance of T-shirts from an unknown New York fashion group, with the logo: “It ain’t Laurent without Yves”.
Personally, I hated the collection with a passion, felt that it lacked imagination and reeked of mediocrity and complacency. It takes ‘stones’ to fight against the conformity of the fashion culture that permeates throughout the higher echelons of european fashion. Bravery is needed every time a designer releases a collection to the critics, when a collection finally leaves his atelier into the imagination of the world, bravery is needed, NOT arrogance.
I am a blogger, a fashion critic, but I am also a designer that reveres the design process. I love the collaboration, the constant searching for something new and wonderful. This is further complicated when the designer is creating work in a noted established design house that is known around the world. The collection that ‘stomped’ down runway in the name of Yves Saint Laurent last week had very little to do with the reputation of the YSL brand, and everything to do with a designer conducting a very expensive temper tantrum, holding his middle finger up to the fashion establishment, simply stating, “Lump it or Leave it”.
Leaving the fashion press behind, blocking the ‘mess of sick’ that was displayed last week, I decided to create one look of my own, to show MY vision for all of those that would care to look. I created one look, I felt that was ll that was needed, coupled with a photograph that I hold dear to my heart, portraying Yves when he was young and beautiful, at the height of his fame.
The look also will portray how a designer SHOULD collaborate with established looks are ‘visual reputations’ that have gained popularity, long before the designer was hired. The above model is wearing a sexy Fall look consisting of layered, draped knits, delicious leathers, and warm, luxurious cashmere wools. The jacket is made of a lovely cashmere wool blend, black in hue, and cropped with a single button center front. The silhouette is slender, in honor of the popular ‘slenderizing’ aesthetic that has been created by Slimane. The first knit top is a draped cashmere sweater, with a asymmetrical hem, self belt. Layered under this are feminine draped tunics made of the finest cotton/silk blends (heavy gram weight). Side tied knits are then added to create a very feminine, luxurious layered visual that is rebellious, daring, but so sexy and dynamic. In this collection, I would have utilized a lot of textured, raw edged knits, emblazoned with types of hardware and trims to ‘brighten’ them up. This aesthetic is further made dramatic with a 5 pocket dark, crimson colored leather stretch jean. All is further accentuated with stretch leather ‘leggings’ draped over delicious, a simple suede stacked stiletto. This style is taking Slimane’s grundge look further into the realm of sophistication, ultra femininity. I decided to utilize styles and silhouettes that were made famous my Yves AND Slimane, hopefully combining the aesthetic of these two amazing talents, creating one new look. The above style can be made into several other looks because of the layering, making it very easy to merchandise in any retail environment. The face of the model would be a “fresh face” maybe with a subtle, smokey eye with subtle highlights on the cheekbones, the overall makeup would accentuate the ‘natural’ beauty of the model. The hair would be long on all models, slightly tousled, but over all sleek and modern. Nothing was compromised, all was taken under consideration because that is what true fashion is, a celebration of unity and collaboration hopefully taking us places that we have never been.