Saint Laurent goes back to grunge, with a feminine twist

Clingy see-through dresses paired with leather motorcycle jackets in various styles and treatments dominated Saint Laurent’s 2016 Spring-Summer collection, aptly dubbed “Skin.”

Like in seasons past, Saint Laurent’s creative director Hedi Slimane derived a great deal of inspiration from rock ‘n’ roll, particularly the early 1990s or the grunge years.

Regional journalists saw Slimane’s latest pieces up close, including a number of key items from his cruise collection, at a recent press presentation in Hong Kong. Some of the items, including fresh takes on Saint Laurent’s monogram cabas and chain-strapped college bag, will hit stores as early as January 2016.

Slimane’s accessory du jour, a rhinestone-studded, palladium-toned brass tiara, is reminiscent of what Courtney Love used to wear during her wild days with Kurt Cobain. Slimane added a touch of femininity and couture appeal to his lace dresses by embellishing them with hints of embroidery, appliques and beadwork.

The ’90s inspiration extended to Slimane’s menswear, which featured updated takes on flannel shirts and varsity jackets with gold-ribbed collars, cuffs and waistbands. He also did a number of head-turning men’s beaded jackets, which mimic snakeskin and cheetah prints.

The Los Angeles-based Frenchman paid homage to his adopted city by appropriating iconic symbols like palm trees, stars and dinosaurs, which found their way to men’s jackets, sweaters, shirts and accessories like totes, billfolds, coin purses and caps.

Saint Laurent offered a wide range of men’s white lace-up leisure shoes made of distressed materials. Certain sneakers and espadrilles are also fashioned from printed materials like palm trees and sunsets, which would work well as the weather gets warmer.

Elevating folksy tapestry

He also elevated folksy tapestry materials by using them on men’s jackets and caps, and women’s backpacks, weekenders and drawstring bags like the Emmanuelle, featuring such images as astronauts, lions, tigers and the American flag.

Except for a few pairs of open-toe platforms, almost all of Saint Laurent’s women’s shoes this season were strappy, and came with heels not higher than three inches. For cold or rainy spring days, the brand also offered several black pairs of so-called “festival boots” made of leather and rubber, and embellished either with buckles and sequins or point de croix embroidery.

Apart from introducing new versions of YSL cabas and college bag, Saint Laurent also beefed up its evening collection of ’70s-inspired body bags and minaudieres that come either with chain or braided satin strap.

In keeping with the idea of “bags as jewelry pieces,” most of Saint Laurent’s tiny evening bags were rendered in metallic materials or shiny plexiglass and velvet. In lieu of a necklace, you can wear any of these eye-catching evening bags with long shoulder straps, and you’re good to go.

Slimane also presented a limited range of women’s underwear—from stretch leather panties to ribbed tank tops made of silk—that could go with his see-through dresses.

What’s a collection inspired by skin without its share of leather and fur? Slimane reinterpreted these two recurring materials by making them look a tad more masculine to contrast with his flirty dresses.

He also softened an otherwise masculine element like black leather by producing a dress with tiny floral appliques cut from the same material. The same treatment was echoed in one of Saint Laurent’s bucket bags.

Men’s and women’s pants were still low-waist and skinny. Cropped women’s pants went well with this season’s low-heel shoes.

Although this season’s silhouette and choice of materials seem to favour the svelte woman, Slimane gives customers enough options to allow them to mix and match, dress up or down and cover real and perceived flaws. After all, Love and a good number of female icons from the grunge era were far from skinny themselves.

Saint Laurent Paris is exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Stores Specialists, Inc. Its flagship store is at Shangri-La Plaza Mall’s East Wing.