YSL's Slimane revives classics, McCartney bold in Paris

Mon Oct 1, 2012 6:17pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - The earth moved at designer Hedi Slimane's womenswear ready-to-wear debut at Yves Saint Laurent on Monday - or at least the ceiling did.

The palpable excitement among those gathered on Monday around a dark runway inside the Grand Palais in Paris to witness how the grand couture brand would look under a new interpreter cranked up a notch as the show began. Individual ceiling panels shifted upwards one by one to create a cathedral ceiling, eliciting oohs from the crowd.

The temple may have been to Yves Saint Laurent - who died in 2008 after a decades-long career in which he put women in tuxedos, invented streetwear and democratized fashion - but Slimane did not copy blindly, instead bringing a modern, edgy yet elegant feel to the YSL classics.

Here again was the fringed safari look, the finely tailored trouser suit with lean legs and fitted jacket, the sheer black blouse and the ruffled dress with peasant collar - all given an up-to-the-minute urban sensibility that never felt dated.

Even the famous black dress with white cuffs and sleeves worn by Catherine Deneuve in Luis Bunuel's 1967 film "Belle de Jour" was given a new lease on life as Sliman offered up two different lengths for front and back.

"The house is going to live again," said Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's business partner and former companion. "This house is finally saved ... by someone with immense talent."

Berge said Slimane brought to the brand a more supple approach than Saint Laurent, who was grounded in the culture of couture tailoring. "He doesn't copy, he modernizes," he said.

Slimane's YSL readywear debut had been hotly anticipated by the fashion world, anxious to see how the former creative head at Christian Dior menswear would meld with the brand that once counted Deneuve, Bianca Jagger and Loulou de la Falaise among its greatest fans.   Continued...

Models present creations by French designer Hedi Slimane as part of his Spring/Summer 2013 women's ready-to-wear fashion show for French fashion house Saint Laurent Paris during Paris fashion week October 1, 2012. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes