Hedi Slimane showed his 14th Saint Laurent collection at the Los Angeles Palladium against the backdrop of ever heightened expectations and rumours of his departure from the house. At a time when designers are increasingly prolific across the media, Slimane has managed to remain something of a withdrawn figure – yet somehow he ensured that all eyes were on him the day before New York Fashion week launched.
In front of an army of celebrities – Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga Jessica Alba, Sly Stallone, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Kate Hudson, Lenny Kravitz, Joan Jett, Courtney Love, Sam Smith and Grace Coddington to name just a few – Slimane showcased 93 looks worn by 71 models, several of whom are musicians.
Slimane described the collection as a return to “signature style pieces and principles” characterized by an androgynous approach to menswear, meaning super-skinny pants, fringed coats and sequined motorcycle jackets. At times, the looks were quirky and playful, yet sophisticated and elegant: a velvet bomber jacket with hand-beaded lilies, a tuxedo bedazzled with cosmic designs, and a velvet blazer with intricate floral beading and embroidery.
Bow-neck blouses were featured multiple times for men, as were metallic gold boots. Military detailing was also a standout theme of the collection which showcased a jacket covered in gold buttons that would not have been unexpected in Michael Jackson’s wardrobe.
The women’s designs seemed more wearable than the men’s, yet were even more flamboyant and ostentatious. Shimmer reigned throughout, and texture seemed to be the stand-out theme. Long-sleeved dresses with high necks were so embellished and patterned that they looked like filigree jewelry. There were bow blouses for women too, in a multitude of fabrics. Skirts were fur or embellished sequins. Other key pieces included leather culotte pants and sequined blazers; jackets in velvet or leather with beads and fur.
It is a commonly heard cliché that it takes an outsider to best observe the true essence of a city. But this cliché exists for a reason: Parisian-turned-Angeleno Slimane has seen the true dark-but-glittery heart of L.A.: from its rock 'n' roll history, to its bohemian style, and mash-up of punk and Goth styles. Slimane took all that is ‘Los Angeles’ and whipped it into a striking, poignant and triumphant homage to the original Yves Saint Laurent.
Click through to see all 93 looks, and scroll down to watch the Saint Laurent FW16 Show at the Palladium in Los Angeles.
All images courtesy of Saint Laurent.