Jean-Luc Godard once said, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to,” and that is the best way to approach Hedi Slimane’s latest Spring/Summer 2015 collection for the French maison of Saint Laurent Paris.
His obvious inspiration comes from the 60’s when there was a huge interest in Western wear. It was the combined look of a transient cowboy and spirited gypsy, popularized by psychedelic bands such as Iron Butterfly, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, and Spirit, most of which were based in San Francisco or Los Angeles where Slimane calls home. The final looks of the collection call inspiration from Italian master filmmaker Sergio Leone and the wardrobe often featured in his western films such as The Good, The Bad, The Ugly featuring Clint Eastwood.
Since his first collection, Slimane has split the brand’s audience into those who admire his tailoring, attention to detail, and his intent to redefine luxury via Rock subcultures, and into those who merely see his designs as recycled ideas. Respectively they’re both right with the latter being a bit too harsh. Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection, with its vintage feel, doesn’t introduce us to a new style – but it certainly does show that Slimane’s penchant to reconstruct old silhouettes using well-manufactured and opulent fabrics, paired alongside with his French sensibilities, ultimately and typically always raising the level of luxury.
As the last presentation at Paris Fashion Week, Saint Laurent’s show began knowing just as any concert would, using an outstanding customized light instillation created by Slimane himself. This is what Hedi does best; showcases his grand essence through the brand and creating something that can’t be reproduced. The soundtrack, provided by LA-based band Mystic Braves, quickly setting the Psych Rock mood, the perfect accoutrement for the collection. As a combination of male and female models paraded down the runway alongside musicians from numerous bands such as Foxygen, Swim Deep, Los Rips, Skinnybones, and Psychic Warden, as well as actors including Jack Kilmer. The ghastly thin cast of cool kids strutted their way in all Western inspired wear that was nothing less than glamorous. From sleek, flat brim hats, heavy panchos, tasseled leather vests, glimmering metallic jackets and super skinny slacks, down to their snakeskin boots, each look was immaculately embellished with signature Slimane aesthetics worthy of continuous encores.
How ever many naysayers Hedi seems to have, he remained unapologetic in another collection showcasing the true spirit of Rock and Roll.