Hedi Slimane's Triumph at the Palladium

Hedi Slimane's Triumph at the Palladium

PART ONE OF HEDI SLIMANE'S FALL 2016 SAINT LAURENT COLLECTION PAYS TRIBUTE TO HISTORIC FRENCH HOUSE

PART ONE OF HEDI SLIMANE'S FALL 2016 SAINT LAURENT COLLECTION PAYS TRIBUTE TO HISTORIC FRENCH HOUSE

Text: William Defebaugh

When Hedi Slimane took the reins at Saint Laurent in 2012,  dropping the "Yves" and moving the brand to Los Angeles, the announcement was met with shock and awe. Since then, his collections have continued to polarize, with questions about Slimane's intentions permeating reviews and rumors. Has Slimane been using the brand to promote his own agenda, or has he been paying homage to YSL's own revolutionary history?

It seems as though Slimane was addressing this question directly with the first part of his Fall 2016 collection, which showed Wednesday night at the magestic Palladium in Los Angeles. With wide-legged trousers, silk bows, knee-high boots, and oversized belts, Slimane paid tribute to the brand's history—all the while mixing in his own rock and roll elements (prints, sequins, skinny scarves and silhouettes) for which the designer has become famous. The timing couldn't have been more apt, either, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of Yves Saint Laurent's rebellious Rive Gauche collection—which shocked the industry, bringing the couturier into the ready-to-wear fold for the first time.

And then there was the scene itself, where every celebrity from Lady Gaga and Sam Smith to Justin Bieber and Courtney Love came to sit front row and show their support for the designer. This is no surprise, of course: Since Slimane took over, Saint Laurent has become a staple for musicians and actors alike (not to mention the public at large, who have been seemingly willing to pay any price to feel a part of the SL brand).

In many ways, this collection can be read as a culmination of everything Slimane has spent the last three years working on with the brand—a greatest hits of sorts, that seemlessly weaves together elements from Slimane's recent collections, and the designer's own narrative with that of the storied French house. A true tour de force.

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