French designer Hedi Slimane had the fashion world on the edge of its seat for his latest Saint Laurent show, hard on the heels of recent collections considered a touch too grungy by some.
Slimane’s spring/summer 2014 collection had a 1980s rock vibe to it with trouser suits teamed with narrow ties, sheer blouses and dinner jackets.
“Everything he does enchants me… I have a passion for Hedi. I only wear Hedi,” said former Chanel model and Yves Saint Laurent muse Betty Catroux as she left wearing a jacket from Slimane’s last collection.
Although the jury is still out on the designer’s third ready-to-wear collection for the illustrious French fashion house, the skinny tailoring that made him a fashion super-star was in clear evidence.
Skirts too were tight, extremely short and mostly leather.
First reaction came from industry journal Women’s Wear Daily which noted that Slimane had continued with his “celebration of the rich rock chick”, and asked “is it fashion?”
“Can something be considered real fashion if its sole purpose is to entice with the familiar rather than to challenge, at least a little? Is a designer doing his or her job to the fullest when creativity ends rather than begins with appropriation?
“Even if the answer to those questions is yes, is that the kind of fashion we want from a) the high-end designer runway in general, and b) one of the most revered names in the fashion directory? The discussion is open,” it said.
The show — along with New York fashion star Alexander Wang’s second collection for Balenciaga — was among the most anticipated of the season.
The innovative designer shook up menswear during his time at Dior from 2000 to 2007 with narrow trousers in a “skinny” style that took off with mass-market designers worldwide.
Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld shed weight to be able to get into a Slimane suit and stars Mick Jagger and Pete Doherty were also fans.
But Slimane’s recent decision to break with tradition and not take questions backstage after shows has left many in the fashion world baffled by his Saint Laurent collections.
Although regarded as visionary by some, others have viewed his work for Saint Laurent as just “not Yves Saint Laurent”.
Elsewhere on Monday, Paul McCartney supplied the star-power as daughter Stella opted for “understated seduction” in a collection of fluid silhouettes and light and airy tailoring for summer 2014.
Accompanied by wife Nancy Shevell, McCartney headed a host of names on the front row including Ringo Starr’s wife and former Bond girl Barbara Bach, model Twiggy, actresses Salma Hayek Pinault and Angie Harmon, singer Sharleen Spiteri and model Natalia Vodianova.
On the catwalk, flowers were everywhere with summer suits, skirts and bustier tops in floral jacquard and silk slip dresses with a floral motif.
Necklines were plunging and fabric often sheer in a palette of “ink, brick and natural tones… natural linen and powder colours”.
Famous faces were not restricted to the front row, however, with British model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne appearing at the show alongside Australia’s Miranda Kerr.
Leonard, meanwhile, continued the floral theme with bright pink and flesh pink peonies on tops, dresses and skirts and a sheath dress embroidered with giant flowers.
Other looks included an Art Nouveau-style print and for evening a pointillist black tuxedo dress in soft silk.
There were flowers at Italian designer Giambattista Valli’s show too with designs covered in romantic appliqued pansies from shorts to dresses.
Other eye-catching looks included dresses that were split to the waist and/or sheer, revealing big knickers.
Nine days of ready-to-wear fashion for spring/summer 2014 are due to wrap up on Wednesday.
Tuesday will see Karl Lagerfeld’s show for Chanel while Marc Jacob’s Louis Vuitton show will kick off the final day.