The world of fashion has become extremely entertaining since the arrival of Hedi Slimane at the helm of Saint Laurent. Every move he makes causes outrage and criticism, thus proving the foresightedness of those who put him there. He is focusing the media’s attention on what he is doing and on his fall 2013 collection, which is – I think – his main goal. “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about,” the wise Oscar Wilde said, and he was damn right. Now, after presenting a collection which has been gathering an endless string of negative reviews, Slimane doubles his bet with a photographic series, a music project featuring Kim Gordon, Courtney Love (of course), Marilyn Manson and Ariel Pink. Portrayed in black and white, these musicians pose in front of Slimane’s camera wearing Saint Laurent clothes and accessories, thus becoming official faces of the brand. There’s nothing wrong with that: Courtney Love was a forced choice (she’s the first source of inspiration of the collection, after all) and I don’t mind Manson and Pink. The problem is Kim Gordon and I’ll try to explain why.
Kim Gordon, the coolest woman in the world of rock, the one who can sport a mini-dress like no other, the muse of Sofia Coppola and Marc Jacobs since the 90s, the proof that blondness doesn’t mean dumbness (and I could go on like this forever)… Well, she’s posing for Slimane pulling a sexy face. I’m disappointed by this, because Kim Gordon – at least in my mind – should never, ever need to play the sexy card. What for? She’s the epitome of coolness, which is 1000 times better than sexiness. I’m confused.
Here the sexy tone is watered down a bit, but it’s still there. Slimane and Gordon have been friends for years, and now he’s coming up with these disappointing portraits? Don’t forget he’s the mind behind the amazing Rock Diary, a series of black and white pictures of famous and soon-to-be-famous musicians and celebrities. We know he’s capable of that and he gives us this?
Putting the nth version of le smoking on Kim Gordon doesn’t change the fact that this is still a disappointing picture: it lacks drama, lustre, vitality and imagination. What part of the rock dream is being presented? What part of Gordon’s personality is emphasized? She’s simply channelling Betty Catroux, like any other blonde who wears a YSL tuxedo. The point is that Catroux exhuded (and still does) sensuality and refinement, while poor Gordon looks at the camera with a lost look in her eyes.
Is this what remains of the grunge generation? Is this the result of the Sonic Youth music and aesthetic revolution? Courtney Love and Kim Gordon could have changed the world (more than they have, to be honest), but here they are instead, wearing uber-expensive clothes, posing for a lazy photographer-designer who is much better than what he seems to be. Is this what they dreamt of in 1991, when they looked psyched and happy to be at the Reading Festival in UK? Now I can understand Kat Bjelland’s choice to step away from the spotlight better: maybe she didn’t want to end up like this, pretending to be sexy for selling clothes.