Two things surprised us about this Vogue.com feature from yesterday. One: that it seems to deride Hedi Slimane and Saint Laurent (something most outlets seem nervous to do), and two: that it actually acknowledges the absurdity of the price tags that come with much of the designer clothing that graces Vogue's very pages.
Lynn Yaeger, who's always been a pretty straight shooter, set out on a "thrifting spree" inspired by Hedi Slimane's "California grunge"-inspired fall 2013 Saint Laurent collection.
What resulted is an article that, without explicitly stating anything negative about the collection, definitely calls it into question more than we would ever expect from an outlet like Vogue.
Yaeger opens the article with Courtney Love's comment about Slimane's collection resembling thrift store chain Value Village (Love thinks this is a good thing). Yaeger also notes that the collection was "wildly controversial" and that, "Wherever you stand on the idea of exquisitely rendered, high-priced baby-doll dresses and plaid flannel shirts, you can’t argue that the designer’s audacious single-minded intensity was astonishing to behold." (Yaeger used similar, if slightly more condemnatory language to describe Slimane's collection for Saint Laurent over on The Cut, calling the show a "fascinating display of single-minded audacity... Think Anna Sui without the cheeriness (and the relatively modest price tags) or Mark’s [sic] long-ago brilliant collection for Perry Ellis, all being looked over by the smirking spirit of Courtney Love, whose quirky brilliance underscored the deliberate winky inanity of some of her early fashion choices.")
She then scours the racks of various New York thrifting establishments where she finds flannel shirts of various colors for $18 each, chunky sweaters for under $50, and $28 dresses (and this is in Manhattan, where vintage clothing is wildly overpriced). But it's at Urban Outfitters, a business basically built on commercializing grunge, that she has the most success of all.
It turns out that a company called Minkpink has nailed these [dresses]—the high waist, the short hems, the prints, in one case referencing oversize paisley swirls, in another black-and-white lace—and all for $99, which, though a fortune in Value Village terms, is but the merest speck on the high-fashion horizon.
Indeed, Saint Laurent's price point is in the thousands, and Yaeger found the same stuff for the price of a Saint Laurent button by shopping like a college student.
It's a subtle dig, but it's definitely there, right?