"How are the models going to walk this?" That was the question upon arriving at the soon-to-be reopened Carreau du Temple for the Saint Laurent show on Monday night. Reflective gold beams lined the runway, spaced several feet apart, from beginning to end. Either the girls were going to do some serious hoppin', skippin' and a jumpin' or something very interesting was about to happen.
This being Hedi Slimane, it was the latter. As the first notes of LA-based band Cherry Glazerr's moody, languid rock song "Had Ten Dollaz" came through the speakers, the beams rose gracefully in pairs like many gates of a bridge.
And what came through? Mods. Lots of them. Slimane is obsessed with music subcultures -- he's done straight-up rock 'n' roll, grunge -- and this was an ode to '60s Swinging London in the form of leather, velvet fur and sequins. The hair -- all middle parts and bangs -- was very Jean Shrimpton; kohl-rimmed eyes completed the look.
Each minidress was cuter than the last -- the inky velvet number with a white collar and cuffs was upstaged a few moments later by a pink sequined frock under a graphic black fur with huge white polka dots. Checked capes and a houndstooth jacket brought more Brit, while glittery Mary Janes and knee-high black patent and silver boots brought even more attitude. Sharp little schoolgirl blazers looked just right with teeny tartan and gray skirts, while a sparkly plaid kilt was so short it would easily earn any girl a detention slip. In fact, there wasn't a single pair of pants in the whole lineup, only thick black opaque tights.
A trio of limited-edition sequined dresses with abstract shapes were inspired by the work of California-based conceptual artist John Baldessari (whom Slimane has photographed in the past). Slimane also referenced Baldessari via the show's invite, sending out a booklet of his work. The opening page is the text-based piece "Evidence: A Potential Print," in which the artist -- now in his 80s -- addresses "The Cremation Project." The guy burned all of his paintings done from 1953 and 1966, placing them in an urn and even baking some into cookies.
To further make any links between that and what Slimane sent down the runway (outside of those obvious three looks) would just be speculation. But one does wonder: Was it just another nod to an act of beautiful destruction (see his earlier fascination with Pete Doherty) or a larger statement about his own work, or even his work in relation to his predecessor's?
We don't know. But we are quite certain we want those fuchsia Mary Janes.