Hedi Slimane Makes His Debut at Saint Laurent

Hedi Slimane finally made his debut for Saint Laurent. Here's our firsthand account.
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Leah Chernikoff
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Hedi Slimane finally made his debut for Saint Laurent. Here's our firsthand account.
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The wait is over!

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The show notes (at left) were blank, save for one line: A Pierre. That would be Pierre Bergé, of course, Yves Saint Laurent's long-time partner and co-founder of the label. A sweet touch.

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The Front Row: This was the most A-list front row I've ever laid eyes on.

France’s First Girlfriend

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The Clothes:

The collection was a very literal homage to Saint Laurent’s designs from the ‘70s (le smoking, Saharienne, the big floppy bow-necked blouse) mixed with the ultra-slim silhouette Slimane made his signature while at Dior Homme, as well his LA-influenced rock aesthetic. It’s no wonder Pierre Bergé was pleased as Slimane stuck so closely to the codes of Saint Laurent. He told WWD, “It’s very moving for me, because it’s the spirit of Saint Laurent, but revisited with Hedi’s enormous talent. It’s terrific...I was the one who hired him, after all, so I have always had tremendous confidence in Hedi, and I’m thrilled.”

The first looks out were variations on a slim black pants paired with a silk blouse with a big floppy bow with a fitted tuxedo vest over top. Pants are certainly a specialty of Slimane and we can see them being a hit at retail. This look was toughened up with leather and then fancied up with sequined feathers towards the end of the show. When dresses entered the mix they were billowy sheer to-the-floor ‘70s-inspired numbers with plunging necklines. The palette stuck mostly to black--which may mean it may not fare as well for editorial--but the finale dresses (in that same billowing maxi sillhouette, only tied off with a sash at the waist) that splash of color. They came in red, turquoise, and periwinkle blue and were covered by long witch-y capes with pointy hoods. Very Stevie Nicks.

While the show was unquestionably sexy and cool, the immediate response was a bit lackluster. There was barely any applause following the show. To be fair, it was a LOT of hype to live up to. I heard mixed reactions. Old school editors and stylists seemed a bit disappointed with how literally Slimane had stuck to the codes of Saint Laurent without updating them, modernizing them, moving the house forward. But when I ran into two models who had just walked the show on the metro, they couldn’t stop gushing about the collection. “I want everything,” one squealed. That’s a good sign for the collection’s market appeal to the younger crowd.

Was it the fashion “moment” everyone was hoping for? Maybe not. But this is Slimane’s first collection for Saint Laurent. Let’s see what he does next.

Photos: Getty/Imaxtree