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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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A “Trip To Bountiful” or “The Night Roger Sterling Would Take Acid With Angela’s Mom From ‘My So-Called Life'”

Talk about “Far Away Places”, one of the latest episodes of AMC’s premier show “Mad Men” actually featured two of the show’s main characters hanging out with Angela’s Mom from “My So-Called Life” and embarking on an LSD vacation (to help the marriage, of course)!

We’ve seen them drink, dope, and dose before on the show, always bringing the true moods of the times has become paramount to the show . The year is 1966, and while many of us would associate acid trips and LSD with Woodstock and the hippie movement, the development of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and the exploration of its properties were anything but psychedelic at this point.

LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, was first synthesized in 1938 by Dr. Albert Hoffman in Switzerland.  It wouldn’t be until five years later, Hoffman would unwittingly take the drug himself experiencing the first-ever “trip” . . . EVER!!!

Bicycling home, Hoffman would recall breaking down and believing he had been poisoned by the LSD – also, that his neighbor was in fact a witch! So you can imagine his distress…

The CIA would infamously use LSD as a form of mind control in a series of experiments involved in the controversial Project MKULTRA. This covert project was uncovered by a reporter in 1977 using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) unveiling that covert units performed series of tests on American and Canadian citizens throughout the 1950s into the 1970s (maybe beyond…spooky, right?!) that included administering LSD for series of days (up to three months) and experiments in electro-shock therapy.

In fact, LSD was also being actively administered to individuals on pharmaceutical levels throughout the 1950s by various doctors around the world. The treatment of many clinical problems such as addiction, anxiety, depression, and a plethera of other psychological “disorders” were being treated with the on set side effects of the drug – the “trip”.

Once administered by a physician, whom himself has taken trips himself up to 40 times (for safety), an individual was let alone to their own vices, often times experiencing life altering epiphanies and self discoveries along the way.

Cary Grant was one such individual who swore by the miracle drug. This wasn’t something kept hidden from the public as many celebrities do presently with various addictions, but was part of a scheduled exercise between himself as a patient of psychiatry. Problems aren’t problems like they are for a man like Cary Grant who praised the techniques and results used to achieve such epic self realization.

As Grant explained in 1959 of the New York Herald Tribune:

“I have been born again. I have just been through a psychiatric experience that has completely changed me … I had to face things about myself, which I never admitted, which I didn’t know were there. Now I know that I hurt every woman I loved. I was an utter fake, a self-opinionated boor, a know-all who knew very little. Once you realize that you have all things inside you, love and hate alike, and you learn to accept them, then you can use your love to exhaust your hate … You can relax … Then you can do more than you ever dreamed you could do … That moment when your conscious meets your subconscious is a helluva wrench. You feel the whole top of your head lifting off.”

It would seem Grant had little aversion at all to talking about it, and quickly appearing in interviews and stories for The London Daily Mirror, The LA Times, and other national publications including a hilarious bit in Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping headlining “How LSD Changed Cary Grant’s Private Life” to America’s housewives and bolting LSD and psychological transformation into public consciousness.

Grant wouldn’t be the only movie star to take the “trip”- other famous “patients” included James Coburn, Clare Booth Luce, Charles Brackett, and even the million dollar mermaid herself- Esther Williams who said that:

“This LSD trip … explained so much about my life’s script … [It was] such a breakthrough for me.””

Bet you never would have thought!

Hundreds of books were also written about the subject- all in hopes that LSD had the key. The magic cure to the impossible! The answer to all the meaning of one’s life necessary. Unfortunately, no sooner did the trend for LSD therapy catch on as it was quickly halted by the outlawing of LSD October 6, 1966 after nearly 40,000 patients treated by the psychedelic and literally thousands of scientific studies on the now illicit substance.


Good thing Roger and Jane caught on seemingly months before it’s demise from clinical and psychiatric care. Though still illegal, there are handfuls of individuals who would argue for LSD and its benefits. After all, every man must at some point come face to face with himself, and if life is a journey, having the ability to harness in on elements of your being is powerful. So if LSD can truly facilitate an out of body experience, and the journeyman is of sound mind, no doubt the results could be fantastic.

Recently Dyan Cannon has described her life with Cary Grant, and his obsession with LSD. Her account also includes many eyebrow-raising details of the matinee idol, we otherwise would never have guessed.Just as we always say at The Eye of Faith-  “Everything is not always as it seems”, and so is the case with the seemingly cavalier Grant.

Not surprisingly, the doctors prescribing their methods to Cary Grant were eventually apprehended for their own misuse of the psychedelic drug they had been prescribing. However, this did not stop the fascination with the psyche, and the undeniable portal LSD was giving people into their mind.

It’s powerful stuff potent enough to make someone legitimately go crazy. But, you gotta love how Roger handles his experience. You could almost imagine Roger having a Cary Grant penis rocket ship blast-offing from Earth kind of trip, but the Sterling actually pulls it off from beginning to end, and seems genuinely refreshed from his voyage of discovery.

John Slattery adds great panache and humor to the role, as he always does, and as surprising as it seems, is one of the most probable characters to be put in this situation. Poor Jane, always misunderstood and painfully misguided, if only LSD was really the answer to everything. At least they give her a great sense of style.

Totally feeling the Cleopatra inspiration on Jane’s hair, a very popular movie that was released in 1963, but received a shit load of publicity and press due to Liz’s mood swings and passionate affair with co-star Richard Burton.  There probably wasn’t a shred of paper that didn’t have a story on the now infamous production. Good to see it rubbing off, as it seems most things in magazines do- LSD included.

And if you haven’t seen the episode yet, you got to! Definitely award-worthy on all accounts! Just what everyone loves from the talented team at “Mad Men”. AMC has the clip of Roger and Jane taking acid, so click here if you dare.

Really had a lot of fun writing about this one! Never thought the day would come I could watch Roger Sterling take acid with Angela’s mom. I’d say, things are pretty sweet!

Would love to hear your take! It’s really cool how context shapes perception. The kid definitely seems happy, so what’s the deal?!

Would you take LSD with Angela Chase’s mom? Was Cary Grant totally off his rocker? What do you think? Let us know!

Sincerely,

{[THE EYE]}

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