Tag Archives: Paris fashion week autumn/winter 2013

To: Yves Saint Laurent, With All My Love – Rethinking Fall 2013

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Yves Saint Laurent

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.

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Saint Laurent Fall 2013- The Deconstruction Of A Legendary Fashion House, into Mediocrity

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New York“Well everyone has expressed my shock and horreur at seeing YSL mangled in this way. I thought the previous collection was a bit of a commercial rehash but this one seems like a very expensive exercise in navel gazing.I can’t imagine someone having been hired to do this job get it so wrong – but then M. Slimane would not be the first designer who confuses his client’s brand identity with his own – wishful thinking perhaps. In the meantime Hermes is going to be laughing all the way to the bank – their collection was elegant ( suddenly it seems so modern to be elegant) timeless and about quality.”

“I believe Ms.Horyn did not attend the show…Mr.Wilson covered it.I think it is quite chic of her not to even utter one word on this dreadful collection…sometimes silence is so much stronger than words!”

” Heidi Slimane is a fashion snob who thinks of himself as a fashion God. Looks like he just bought these pieces from the LA thrift stores and salvation army and cut them with similar fabrics from some expensive Italian mills.”

“I always thought Stefano Pilati did a great job at YSL, as he did a lot of work under TF. This collection is a bloody disaster. Time for him to leave LA for Paris!”

“That’s what people are forgetting… YSL had IDEAS behind all his ‘rebellion’. Great ones at that. He wasn’t just posing as a rockstar. Where’s Mr. Slimane’s ideas? All I see is re-worked Anna Sui. And it was a different time. High fashion needed to come down to the street back then…but, mission accomplished! Several decades ago, in fact. The only way fashion could ever get MORE ‘street’ is if it went six feet under.”

“The real show is tomorrow at 10:30,” another editor said.

“I feel like he’s playing a huge joke on the entire fashion industry,” one more said.

“Don’t underestimate her,” sassed the editor of an indie European fashion magazine, the her being a him.

“It’s haute couture made grunge,” Kirsten Dunst said. “It’s very L.A.”

These are just a few of the comments that I have heard coming from fashion insiders about the current Saint Laurent Collection.

Suffice it to say, the collection shown Monday night by Hedi Slimane, his second women’s ready-to-wear since taking over the house of Yves Saint Laurent label (which he renamed Saint Laurent after establishing his design studio in Los Angeles, rather than Paris), will be as divisive as his first. The scene was roughly the same, perhaps a bit friendlier and inclusive of more editors, but not all of them. Guests took their seats in a darkened gallery, straining to see the famous people. Pierre Bergé came with Betty Catroux, Ms. Dunst with Garrett Hedlund, Jamie Hince with Alison Mosshart and Sky Ferreira. Jessica Chastain, who appears in YSL fragrance ads, arrived in a bright red dress.

Mr. Slimane’s first collection was a tribute to California boho chic, with long flowing dresses, caftans and floppy hats. His second was also rooted in California, this time looking at the aesthetic of grunge, namely Courtney Love baby doll dresses under Kurt Cobain flannel shirts, set to a loud “Tidal Wave 13” by Thee Oh Sees. The dresses were universally short, often black leather minis, worn with fishnet body stockings studded with crystals and Mr. Slimane’s version of a black combat boot, covered with small metal spikes. A whole army of black leather dresses closed the show.

 Many editors present did not appear to be in love with the concept, but there were many pieces that looked commercially lucrative at the same time, like fuzzy tartan cardigans, a black tuxedo jacket, an oversize sparkly black cable-knit sweater, a gray duffel coat and another take on the gold sparkly cardigan jacket. The connection of grunge to Mr. Saint Laurent was less clear, though he did once produce a fragrance called Baby Doll, and a pink fur coat in Mr. Slimane’s show seemed a nod to a famous fox coat design of the early 1970s called the “chubby.”

Well, now that we have that out of the way, lets all  get constructive and try to save YSL from its current Design Dictator,…..er Director.  But before we do this, let us bow our heads in remembrance of what YSL once was.

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Now that we have finished wiping our tears after weeping about the complete and utter destruction of a fabulous fashion legacy, let us began to understand why.

Money, Greed,Ignorance, and Arrogance.

It all started one day when I had heard through the fashion grape vine that Mr. Slimane was rebranding Yves Saint Laurent into simply Saint Laurent. When I heard this I distinctly remembered a silent anger boiling in my ‘fashion soul’. How dare he try to ‘scrape clean’ a legacy that is synonymous across this world for elegance,beauty, and fashion refinement, as if he was scraping the barnacles off of the hull of one his well heeled friend’s yacht.

…curiously no one said anything, and I expected as much.

Fast forward to this “visual colostomy bag” of a show and now I am glad , in a strange way, that our dear Yves was not attached to this ‘collection’.  To say that I HATE the Fall 2013 Looks from Saint Laurent is an exercise in cordial restraint. Let me say this, if I where to sit down with Mr. Slimane, It would NOT be to congratulate him, but instead, in silence, I would lead him to the design studio, and we would began to sketch in silence. A silence that is so deafening, so profound that he would began to understand what damage he has done to this valuable fashion institution. I would then hand over my sketches to him, many of them would be a modern stylings,designs based on layered chiffons , intensely tailored suits, beautiful Boucle’ beaded jackets, ethereal gowns and party dresses that seemed as if the came from another world. Structured pants,beautifully cut leathers used only as accent fabrications, all under the RESPECTFUL homage of Yves and the house he created with his brilliant talent so many years ago. This is what a designer does when he is hired to design for an established design house, he goes back to the vaults, studies the master, collaborating in spirit with what has come before he was born, then create something new and beautiful BASED on this collaboration. This process is spiritual, its beautiful, but one is to NEVER deviate from it because its a sacred form of respect and reverence for what has come before you.

Mr. Slimane, where is your respect, why were you allowed to do this?

You may have noticed, I don’t have any stills from the recent show. My answer to that is that they don’t belong here, just as what walked down the runway does NOT belong under the label of YVES Saint Laurent.