To anyone who has studied and appreciates fashion history, what Hedi Slimane has done to fabled brand Yves Saint Laurent is noting short of criminal. French designer Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (Yves Saint Laurent) is credited with making ready-to-wear chic and changing the direction of women’s fashion by introducing menswear as womenswear. Remember his famous Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women in 1966?
Having started his career early at Dior in 1957 Yves Saint Laurent was named head designer of the brand by the ripe old age of 21. In 1961 he opened his own Haute Couture house. He was the first French couturier to come out with a full prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) line in 1966. Yves Saint Laurent changed the trajectory of fashion until he retired in 2002. Other creative directors who designed for the label since his retirement include Stefano Pilati and Tom Ford. Yves Saint Laurent died of brain cancer in 2008, but his legacy more than lives on.
When a French designer was named new creative director of the legacy brand nearly two years ago people were thrilled. Hedi Slimane took over YSL and demanded Yves be dropped from Yves Saint Laurent and really pissed off a lot of fashion folks. If you are going to make such a bold move, you had better deliver. He hasn’t. Monday the Saint Laurent’s Spring ’14 collection was shown at the Grand Palais and even though it was a celeb packed event, it was not well received.
Robin Givhan just gave a scathing review in NY Magazine’s The Cut. The review entitled Hedi Slimane’s Assault on Luxury and Beauty at Saint Laurent, is dead on. In fact, it made me laugh and then it made me cry. “The moment of his [Hedi Slimane’s] arrival three seasons ago, he’s challenged those constraints. But this time, the pushing, reinterpreting, and reinventing went especially badly. This time, the collection was a sucker punch to sophistication; a jab at the very meaning of luxury, a humorless impersonation of cool. And worst of all, it was ugly,” she said.
That pretty much sums it up. Yves Saint Laurent once wrote Tom Ford a note (when he was the head designer of YSL) that read “In 13 minutes you have destroyed what I have worked 40 years to build.” (Read Tom Ford On Fashion: “It’s a Tough, Tough Industry.” here). Yves Saint Laurent must be spinning in his grave now.
Read more the entire Robin Givhan review and see the show here.
– Lauren Dimet Waters
Source: NY Mag