Writing so much about fashion shows in this period is totally coincidental, but I feel I must write about a topic which has been really debated for a couple of days now – the infamous fall/winter 2013 collection that Hedi Slimane designed for Saint Laurent. It’s been pretty amusing to read comments on social networks and blogs: most of them are negative, and even the positive ones don’t sound sincere. The point is that the collection is the nth homage to grunge and to Courtney Love (her “California” phase, the designer explained), and this would be enough to make me snore with boredom. I mean: when will this 90s revival be over? I lived those years and they were pretty awesome, but c’mon, going back to the 90s all the time seems like beating a dead horse. It’s over, let’s deal with it.
As for the collection, I like it, a lot, but just the idea that it’s a Saint Laurent collection sends me chills down the spine. YSL, do you remember? Clothes designed for uber-refined, independent, charming and Parisian-chic women. Now this is over, wiped away by a series of clothes which you can find in any department store. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them, but I would surely not spend money on them. They’re a generic version of what people think grunge was, with some elements (baggy sweaters, crystal tights, floral dresses and buckle boots) repeated over and over again. I am not shocked by this unexpected turn in the history of the maison, though, because Slimane has had carte blanche since he was appointed creative director; they even let him change the name of the brand, so I can’t see why one must be surprised. They let him do his own thing, which is what he is trying to do, I guess. I was expecting more from him, something more cutting-edge, not bland clothes ready to be worn by Alexa Chung and Kate Moss, but still this is what he has given us.
While perusing the collection, I was intrigued by the dress above. It’s the classic rock-chick combo, including a sexy leather mini-dress and an oversized plaid shirt, providing an oh-so-grunge contrast. Here there’s nothing that we haven’t already seen in one of the Balmain collections designed by Christophe Decarnin, the one who really revived the image of rock fashion, but this peculiar dress is still intriguing.
Do you know that fine line between homage and shameless copy? Well, I think Slimane hit that line with the leather dress we’ve just seen. Courtney Love (not “California” Courtney of the 90s) wore something VERY similar only a year ago, in two different occasions (a W party at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and the launch of Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina perfume in New York). I don’t know why but this makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Courtney Love has served as source of inspiration for many designers, Meadham Kirchhoff included, but here I can’t see any homage, just a copy of something she wore, without any personal interpretation of her style. This is supposed to be flattering but who can be flattered by a collection which seems to be a copycat of your closet?
When I saw that dress, another picture came to my mind – a young Courtney at the Club Satyricon in Portland, attending a Mudhoney/Nirvana concert in 1989. Some say that was the night in which she first met Kurt Cobain. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s a rock legend, but who cares? She looked smashing in her little strapless dress with velvet skirt. For some reason, the Saint Laurent number reminds me of this outfit, but it is as the former sucked all the life out of the latter and it’s NOT a good thing.