This might be the best thing: when a collection not only presents a couple of pretty pieces that you’d immediately welcome in your wardrobe, but also causes a moderate identity crisis. When it tells a story, of which you’d love to be the protagonist but you’re not. Most certainly you could be. It would be like watching a movie as a child, having a crush on a character and constantly shout: “That’s me, I would be her!” Afterwards you would pretend to be her for days until what makes the character so strong is understood and adapted and the masquerade can be dropped.
This is how I have been feeling about Saint Laurent for a while. After glitter-booted mid-sixties euphoria Hedi Slimane is bringing back the 70s glam rock. Low cut, patterned mini dresses with camisole straps. Plateau sandals, transparent, black tights (yes, finally back!) Hip belts, slender scarfs tightly bound around the neck. Lace, star motifs, flower- and fruit prints. An abundance of leather, velvet, metallic fabrics, applications with sequins and studs. Everything cute is interrupted by at least one tough element.
Looking at the show pictures I permanently think: Fuck, why don’t I walk around exactly like this? Why don’t I spend long nights at smoky rock bars wear necklines down to my belly button underneath an XL leather jacket and paint my face with metallic make-up? Why are the ankle-high Saint Laurent glitter boots from the last collection, that I would totally wear still not mine? And why by all means, don’t I listen to Bowie again a lot more often?
Anyhow Bowie: it’s obvious that pictures of the Bowie entourage were present during Slimane’s design phase. We know the teal-colored hat from David as Halloween Jack. Also, the leather jumpsuit Angela was wearing on photographs advertising the Bowie album “Diamond Dogs”. No one in the 70s celebrated the topic of androgyny like David Bowie did. This also manifests in Slimane’s creations. The low cut necklines are not overly prompting. They are more graphic element and part of the total artwork than erotic solicitation. Above all, glam rock is the confusion of identities, denial of determination, social experiment and art performance – a masked ball.
In the movie “The Runaways” from 2010 there is a scene that would have been a great opener for the Saint Laurent show. It quotes Michael Shannon as Kim Fowley in a club walking towards Dakota Fanning as the under age Cherrie Currie: “I like your style. A little Bowie, a little Bardot and a look on your face that says I could kick the shit out of a truck driver.”
Slimane calls for more rock star attitude with his collection, for more Bowie-ness and Bardot-ness and kick-the-shit-out-of-a-truck-driver-ness. In front of the inner eye each one of his outfits appears in the midst of a dirty rock club: dark glowing silhouettes, glaring color flashes in bright green, bright red, bright purple and everything is nice and smoky around.
Who knows if this collection will be the reason to start going out again more, wear lower necklines or buy the glitter boots from fall season. But Slimane makes me think about it. Slimane makes me nervous. That’s always a good thing.
Trailer “The Runaways” from 2010
Translated by Georgia Reeve
Mercedes Lauenstein currently works as as a freelance writer for jetzt.de, a website run by Sueddeutsche Zeitung and writes essays and articles for other publications. In fall of 2015 she publishes her first book. She lives in Munich.