Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent debut was the most built up event of fashion month. Expectations were high. He (along with Raf Simons) was essentially expected to revolutionize fashion with a stellar collection and as you've probably gauged from the reviews (and not just Cathy Horyn's), he didn't quite meet those expectations--at least not for critics.
But retailers, on the other hand, apparently can't wait to get the collection into stores. WWD spoke to several major retail execs who were over the moon about Slimane's youthful, retro, Rachel Zoe-esque wares. Nordstrom's Pete Nordstrom told the trade that he "loved it" and that it was "definitely one of the highlights of the week."
You'll also probably be seeing the collection at Barneys. CEO Mark Lee, once President of YSL, was very enthusiastic, saying “there was a unanimous and spontaneous love from all the Barneys team members immediately after the [Saint Laurent] show” and described the clothes as “modern, sexy, desirable clothing that the Barneys customer will want." He heralded Slimane's use of the house codes, pointing out that YSL's most commercially successful collections made use of those codes.
Bergdorf Goodman president Joshua Schulman said they were "extremely excited" about the collection, while Marigay McKee, chief merchant at London-based Harrods described it as "perfect for our customer."
The collection will also apparently do well amongst Chinese customers, because, as Lane Crawford president Andrew Keith put it, the skinny silhouette "will work nicely on the Chinese body shape," among other things. Neiman Marcus's Keith Downing called it "the new cool girl's uniform."
So while it may not have been a critical success, it could still turn out to be a commercial one. And isn't that ultimately more important? Selling clothes? Another one of the high expectations placed on Slimane was to make YSL's ready-to-wear business--which paled in comparison to shoes and accessories--profitable. Sounds like that's one expectation he'll be able to meet.