By now, you’ve probably heard at least something about Hedi Slimane’s transition to storied French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent — whose name he promptly shortened (or had the gall to butcher, depending on who you ask) to simply Saint Laurent.
Some background for you: YSL made headlines last March with its appointment of menswear design whiz Slimane as its new creative director, replacing Stefano Pilati. The position comes a dozen years after Slimane exited YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme to make waves at Dior Homme, where he developed a cult following for his skinny-cut suits and pale, waifish male models. Interestingly, the current YSL gig is Slimane’s first foray into womanswear, despite having dressed the occasional female celebrity, such as Nicole Kidman and Madonna.
Slimane debuted his beyond-anticipated collection for the Saint Laurent yesterday during Paris Fashion Week and the verdict is in: According to the critics, it’s not the beacon of perfection many in the industry were hoping for. Here, we rounded up some critics’ takes on the highly bohemian, rock-infused collection.
- The New York Times’ cranky critic Cathy Horyn (who laments in the review that she wasn’t invited) called the collection “a nice but frozen vision of a bohemian chick at the Chateau Marmont. Or in St. Tropez. Mr. Slimane’s clothes lacked a new fashion spirit. Indeed, it was as though he refused to interpret the YSL style, beyond updating proportions. Even the colors seemed flat, suppressed. Of course, in the past two decades, a host of designers and vintage-minded stylists have successfully traded on the look.”
- WWD called the collection costume-y in its review, adding: “Did Slimane offer a new, stunning prescription for edgy chic funneled through the Saint Laurent lexicon? Not even close. Rather, he filtered sweet homage through an L.A., rock-loving lens (or possibly, a pitch to dress some of Rachel Zoe’s skinniest clients).”
- According to the Associated Press, Slimane’s debut was “disappointing” and “a rather confused ode to excess that used fringing, leather, lacing, tassels, feathers, sequins, skinny menswear tailoring, baggy pants, cinching cummerbunds, capes, tribal pendants and almost everything else under the sun. That’s not to mention an oversized black and white coat that could have been worn by Cruella de Ville.”
- Reuter’s was a bit more enthused, noting that “Slimane did not copy [Yves Saint Laurent] blindly, instead bringing a modern, edgy yet elegant feel to the YSL classics. Here again was the fringed safari look, the finely tailored trouser suit with lean legs and fitted jacket, the sheer black blouse and the ruffled dress with peasant collar – all given an up-to-the-minute urban sensibility that never felt dated.”
- The Daily Beast‘s Robin Givhan also didn’t think the collection was a complete wash, stating: “In his spring 2013 runway debut, Slimane stayed true to the brand’s enduring legacy,” adding, “Slimane revealed himself to be deeply influenced by his past as a menswear designer, with his expertly sharp tailoring and ability to give his clothes a confident swagger. For a woman who can fit into his silhouette — and this is the tricky part — his suits are the epitome of cool.”
Click through the gallery and let us know: Are you a fan of Hedi Slimane’s first collection for Saint Laurent?