Elegantly Wasted: A Trip to the 90s with Hedi Slimane for Saint-Laurent

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When it was announced that Hedi Slimane was to take the place of Stefano Pilati as creative director of the iconic label Yves Saint-Laurent, the fashion world was left wondering what new innovations the Swiss designer could bring to the brand. Then he dropped the Yves.

That’s right. For over fifty years the brand has existed as YSL,a brand coveted for its luxury, craft, and intuition; and yet within a few moments under Slimane’s guiding eye, the brand switched from Yves Saint-Laurent, to Saint-Laurent Paris. A seemingly small change, but for fashion insiders, it seemed to represent a much grander prophecy.

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It should come as no surprise, however, considering Hedi Slimane is a designer who is known for being a somewhat of a revolutionary when it comes to fashion. He is the man that ushered a tidal wave of change nearly a decade ago when he was appointment menswear designer for Dior; making Dior Homme not only a coveted brand worn by celebrities from Brandon Flowers and Pete Doherty to Cate Blanchett, but seriously revolutionized mens fashion altogether. While most collections stuck to a very standard approach to mens styles, Slimane flipped it on its head exchanging boot cuts for skinny jeans, made suspenders cool, had young guys think hats are cool, wearing skinny ties, and switching their blazer for cropped motorcycle jackets.

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On top of that, he single handedly changed the standard of beauty for male models, exchanging the buff All-American dreamboat for the skinny skater kid you see hanging out in the alleyway with his friends sneaking a joint and giving each other tattoos. What would have been referred to as the ‘Teenage Wasteland’ by our grandparents, has now turned into the standard ideal of luxury by fashion insiders, which you have to admit is pretty damn cool.

And if there’s anyone who knows cool its Hedi Slimane, who took a break from designing and took a dip into the realms of industrial design, exhibition design, curating, and of course his photography which he showcased on his site, the Hedi Slimane Diary.

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Now, Slimane has kicked it off with his debut menswear collection for Saint-Laurent in this latest F/W 2013 runway show, proving that he’s still got it in the bag when it comes to making mens fashion that feels fresh, cool, casual, with all the bad ass luxury of a world class rock star.

There’s plenty of vintage inspiration thrown in there too, with a definite ode to the 90s.

 

It’s a decadent rock n roll roller coaster of goth and grunge (very of the moment) that elevates the styles to a whole new level (being Saint-Laurent, after all). Plaid shirts, cardigans, ripped jeans, leopard print, fur coats, and oversized jackets – these are the new standards. Vive Revolution.

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There’s definitely nods to the great, late, one-of-a-kind, king of sadness, rebel bad boy, Kurt Cobain in the mix. And while, we’ve seen this vintage inspiration dozens of times in the past, somehow Slimane is able to rejuvenate the look with unexpected combinations of texture, colour, pattern, and shape. And what might seem like odd styling choices, at times, only adds to the eclectic decadence.

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You could even say it ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, as the anthem goes, but its more likely an invitation to  ‘Come as You Are’, when you think about it. No need to fuss or muss. Just throw it on, and march. That’s the best part for us, and the most alluring and beautiful representation of Cobain’s unique style we’ve yet to see.

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I see a little bit of River Phoenix in there, too . . . he was, of course, a forefather to that grunge look, and probably would have come to represent it even more if it weren’t for his untimely death. There’s also a little Jordan Catalano thrown into the mix . . .

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His F/W Women’s Collection is equally full of these rebel notions, and 90′s attitudes. You can spot inspiration everything from Courtney Love, ‘The Craft’, ‘Daria’, ‘My So-Called Life’, ‘Reality Bites’, ‘Poison Ivy’, Gwen Stefani, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bridget Fonda in ‘Singles’! It’s every fashionista’s dream collection, pretty much. Expect to see even more of this on the streets, and anyone who was doubting this particular breed of style, can suck it because this is Yves Saint-Laurent, baby - sorry, SAINT-LAURENT, baby!

Hats off to you, Slimane. You bring the past to life in a whole new way, and that’s what makes us love you most. You show that fashion is about reinvention as much as invention, and to look to the past and give it a new spin is about as innovative as you can get. You remind everybody that everything old is easily new again with a little bit of imagination.

Your vintage inspiration is out of this world, and you keep reinventing, not just how we dress, but yourself, in many ways, which is both aspirational and incorrigible to all those of us who call ourselves dedicated followers of fashion….

So, Merci Beaucoup. Somehow, you’ve made me feel like we’re definitely doing something right. And remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s what makes you imperfect that really counts.

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