After months of speculations, Kering has confirmed – Hedi Slimane is leaving Saint Laurent. Did Hedi realise that there is not enough place for him and Demna Gvasalia, the other designer who makes cheap-looking clothes with four digit price-tags? Let’s be clear – Slimane, during his three-and-a-half year tenure was the master of hypocrisy. Do you remember the autumn-winter 2013, when he presented mohair cardigans, studded boots and skimpy, leather dresses? Some said it was a modern-day nod to Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial Le Scandale collection. But some were more realistic, and not that optimistic – these clothes looked like grunge, but a la River Island circa 2010 rather than Kurt Cobain. Even though in the same year Courtney Love became the face of Saint Laurent. If talking of another odd things that happened during Slimane’s “era” – the tiaras from SS16. One costs, yes, 995 euros here. And it gets even more ironic, when you note that this is a prom-like, brass tiara embellished with rhinestone. Not with gems, silver or, huh, diamonds. I doubt it’s even Swarovski.
However, Hedi Slimane can be at least praised for the speed and desperation with which he had totally revamped the house. The interiors of the flagship stores, which used to be so boring with Stefano Pilati in charge, got the marble upgrade, while the advertisement campaigns – starring Kim Gordon, Joni Mittchel and lately, Jane Birkin – were always photographed by him, and had a cool, LA-rooted rock’n’roll spark. Also, it’s reported that the revenue of the brand increased in all categories, from accessories to clothes. People are buying Saint Laurent, so there is surely an undefined reason for Slimane’s success. But then, why did he leave? And will Anthony Vaccarello, whose aesthetic isn’t far from Hedi’s, get the point? Time will tell. But for now, let’s look back at the journey that Slimane took us to.
A.F. Vandevorst showed its new collection in London, which felt quite unexpected, as the designers behind the Belgian brand – An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx – used to be the regulars at Paris Fashion Week. But the city was a pretty obvious choice for them, though. The punk spirit, which was the theme behind the collection, is reflected in British music history in the best possible way – and the fish-net tights revived the old, clubbing attitude of SoHO, before it became a trendy, hipster district. The faces of the models were splattered with red, while some of them wore restrictive belted helmets made of leather or velvet. To a surprise of many, velvet had a bright moment this season at Vandevorst, looking good on platform boots and extra-large maxi dress. Also, the deconstructed skirts and pantalons had a rebellious twist, looking quite fierce with red suede stompers. Punk and rock’n’roll have been present in the label’s codes from the very beginning, and to a large extend this collection was a good occasion to highlight that fact – even though I will always consider A.F. Vandevorst as a much more Paris-based label. Whatever they say about the British subculture present in these clothes, the chic, French decadence is oozing from every corner – and I hope this won’t change.
A.F. Vandevorst is a Belgian brand that always impresses me. But this time because of two reasons. The first thing is their SS15 window display in their Antwerp flag-ship store, which is all about their fashion show parachute dress which is a true work of art. I am simply amazed with it’s mind-blowing effect. Then, the second thing: their elusive, slightly eerie winter collection look-book. The clothes inspired with Peru (note all these pompons and shearling), beautifully combined with A.F.’s signature rock’n’roll edge look more than cool. Decadent, sculptural and niche. That’s how I would describe the spark hidden in this collection, and the brand’s really great ideas.
Haider Ackermann’s latest presentation for fall exuded chic and rock ‘n’ roll at the same time – the models red pussy bow shirts, pirate jackets, safety pins in their hair and leather trousers. Basically, that was a collection full of cool Haider signatures. The clothes were slim, but chaotic at the same time thanks to the mastered layering; the embroidery, which seemed refreshing for Ackermann was all about metallic stationery and print mash-up. “I wanted colour, I wanted to have fun” was how the designer described his collection. Definitely, that’s a go-to collection for a Parisian party with loud music, alcohol and cigarettes.
The AF Vandevorst couple presented a collection, which was very personal to them – their favourite hard rock music meets Peru, their favourite lately visited country. Long leather boots contrasted with Peruvian pom-pons while tribal-inspired way of wearing scarves looked ultra-cool with fur-trimmed dresses. And all of that was interpreted in deeply poetic black. “In our Belgian way, we took out all the colors,” An said backstage. Rose floral jacquard, patterned Quechua weaving motifs, layered Andean skirts, and Spanish colonial frill were thus all made black and once or twice white and grey. The avant-garde Stephen Jones hats were all about condors and signature AF Vandevorst fedoras. The silhouettes were long, lean, and brooding, even floor sweeping in some cases. The band playing along-side the presentation made the entire impression even better and emotional. Huge, huge bravo for An and Filip!