Well this is strange. The biggest fashion news story of the past two years – who will succeed John Galliano at Dior? Will Hedi Slimane return to design? Whose collection will be better? – has just climaxed in Paris, with fascinating results. Raf Simons’ first RTW collection for Dior was heralded as ground breaking, while Hedi Slimane’s first at YSL was labelled safe, keeping with the house’s traditions, and (quite unexpectedly), reminiscent of Rachel Zoe’s work as a celebrity stylist. Personally, I far preferred Hedi Slimane’s freshman season – it was laser sharp, tailored and boho-luxe all at the same time, and I would kill for one of those suede safari jackets. Also interesting; how different the two designers’ approaches were in presenting their work. Raf Simons talked to press before the presentation and welcomed questions and quotes. Hedi Slimane’s press team forbade interviews or backstage access, and treated many veteran critics impolitely, refusing entry to several, including Cathy Horyn, over petty, long-standing grudges.
It’s a perfect example of new world VS old: Raf Simons embraces the press with an open, honest attitude and gets rave reviews; Hedi Slimane and/or YSL attempt to control the conversation and play favourites with their guest-list and get slayed. Back in the Dior Homme days, things were different. Blogs didn’t have the power they have now, information wasn’t so easily accessible and the designer-as-recluse probably felt a lot more glamorous. Now it just seems obsolete in an era where literally everything is at our fingertips.
Which brings me to the point of this story: In the wake of all the news stories, the reviews blasting Slimane for his treatment of the media, the Slimane/Simons rivalry headlines; something happened that should have gotten a lot more attention: The first photos of Hedi Slimane’s premier Saint Laurent Paris menswear collection appeared on the label’s website.
I’ve Googled it, and can’t find a single blog post or news story about the collection (press weren’t invited to the show, remember?), so if I’m not mistaken this could just about be a worldwide scoop, because here they are. Slimane’s aesthetic has stayed consistent – note the skinny boys, the exact tailoring, the signature black and white shots, the angular posing, the new take on tuxedos and suiting, the leather and the musical influences. It’ll be fascinating to see these get picked up by the menswear blogosphere – most of the guys I know haven’t been around long enough to remember the impact of Hedi Slimane-era Dior Homme, so will they get into it this time around? It remains to be seen.
Either which way, I’m into it.
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