Saint Laurent’s Heritage

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Here comes the Saint Laurent girl, with disheveled hair and gaunt cheeks, wide eyes and no fucks to give. You see her at Glastonbury, waving a lighter as The Strokes play. You catch a glimpse of her outside the some after-hours establishment, shapeless glitter-gilded disco dress under a too-big leather jacket with wrinkles and worn-in elbows under the neon illumined night. You can’t help but wonder, as one might do, what makes her special? Because whose wardrobe isn’t stacked with plain shirts and ripped jeans and Le Smoking two-pieces and denim jackets (etc.?) But are they Saint Laurent? Do they heave into your bones the eccentric air of trashy grace?

I get over-thrilled about Saint Laurent and you aren’t impressed. I don’t care.

The point is, while critics go and dismiss great clothing as “this already happened, just in different colour,” I appreciate the dream-wardrobe that is Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane. 

In retrospect, many fashion houses have been reforming under new creative directors, think Dior under Raf Simons, Maison Margiela, Balmain. And while some stay along the lines of preserving heritage, such as Sarah Burton with Alexander McQueen or Oscar de la Renta, others infuse the brand with the air of contemporary age. Olivier Rousteing, in a recent Vogue documentary, talked extensively about making collection after collection with his concepts coming in mind, and his notions defining the brand, while keeping the idea of heritage in his mind, rather than in cut of dress. 

Personally (as this is, certainly, the most intimate of issues,) the new Saint Laurent is not new at all. Yes, I previously hinted at Saint Laurent by Slimane being a completely new thing and all, but listen, just shut up, listen. 

YSL by Yves Saint Laurent earned just as much critique back in the 70’s. Green fur coats and gold disco dresses go way back. What Yves Saint Laurent created was a statement, and was coveted by those who wished to cause furor, much like your mum raises her eyebrows when she sees the barely fitting dress on a model when you’re streaming the SS16, and oh, there’s a nip slip. Quintessentially, if you, the one I told to shut up, haven’t understood yet: Hedi Slimane kept, rather perfectly, the heritage of Saint Laurent, by retaining the “scandalous” cuts, extravagant pieces, and trashy-chic, if you will. The Saint Laurent that is today’s low-cut two-piece for women, was made way back. 

Worry not, if you are seeking “the real Saint Laurent,” its there, still with the same key ingredients of rad, scandalous, exclusive. 

And about the SS16 Ready-to-Wear? I adored Agyness Deyn’s return, I loved the faux fur coat thrown over a Kate Moss wedding gown, the ode-to-Glastonbury. 


– Alice Pylypenko


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