A Tribute to Kurt and Courtney at Saint Laurent

After all the backlash leading up to and following Hedi Slimane's debut show for Saint Laurent--the rebranding of the name and ensuing confusion, the exclusion of various top editors from the show, the Twitter tirade directed at Cathy Horyn--what to expect from his second collection? Grunge apparently. And barely a trace of the old Yves Saint Laurent.
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Leah Chernikoff
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After all the backlash leading up to and following Hedi Slimane's debut show for Saint Laurent--the rebranding of the name and ensuing confusion, the exclusion of various top editors from the show, the Twitter tirade directed at Cathy Horyn--what to expect from his second collection? Grunge apparently. And barely a trace of the old Yves Saint Laurent.
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After all the backlash leading up to and following Hedi Slimane's debut show for Saint Laurent--the rebranding of the name and ensuing confusion, the exclusion of various top editors from the show, the Twitter tirade directed at Cathy Horyn--what to expect from his second collection?

The setting was pretty similar to last season's debut: it was held at the same salon in the Grand Palais, which was done up starkly with raw wooden benches; an A-list front row including Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund, The Kills, and Jessica Chastain attacted the flashbulbs; and a stellar soundsytem blasted a great rock soundtrack (“Tidal Wave 13” by Thee Oh Sees).

But whereas Slimane's first collection for Saint Laurent closely referenced the codes and silhouettes established by the house's founder, this second showing offered up barely a trace of Yves. You had to remind yourself you were watching a Saint Laurent show.

An emaciated-looking Hanne Gaby Odiele opened the show, stomping down the runway like a bat out of hell in a flimsy black and gold mullet-hemmed mini dress and an oversized flannel-like cardigan. She set the tone for a grunge-inspired show full of boyfriend flannels, babydoll dresses, and sexy tight leather bra tops and mini skirts. We could easily see front-rower Kirsten Dunst or even Elle Fanning in that adorably precious floral print school girl dress that closed the show.

If Hedi Slimane's first men's show--full of flannels and big ski sweaters and long scarves--was a nod to Kurt Cobain, then this collection was all about Courtney Love. Courtney in LA, that is, not Seattle, as the LA-based designer explained the theme of the show was meant to be "California Grunge."

Immediate reactions following the show ran the gamut: Some loved it, a lot of people hated it, and still more were confused. "Am I watching Saint Laurent or TopShop?" the LA Times's Booth Moore tweeted. On the other end of the spectrum, the Man Repeller's Leandra Medine tweeted "You're doing it, Saint Laurent! (Insert resounding YES! here)."

Those contrasting reactions make perfect sense, though: This collection is made for a young person like Medine--a casting of what looked to be teenaged models underscored that fact. I don't know many grown women who could or would want to wear a dress from a collection where the hemline never dropped past mid-thigh. (OK, so there were some well-tailored black jackets and a leather trench that your mom might wear, but that's it.)

So the question we have is this: If Saint Laurent is for the young folks, will it come at prices they can afford? Sadly, we think we know the answer.

Photos: IMAXtree