February 22, 2016

Amidst the flurry of the New York Fashion Week season, one show stood out — and that’s precisely because it didn’t show at the NYFW. On 10 Feb, just one day before the official start of the hectic fashion calendar, Saint Laurent, led by Hedi Slimane, did just about the most rockstar thing ever, true to their roots too. They showed at an entirely different location — at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles — and chose to debut the Men’s collection, as well as Part 1 of the women’s collection ahead of the Paris show. Here’s why it’s deviously genius.

1. It was very, very timely


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Held just five days before the glitzy Grammy Awards, this meant the attendees included music royalty who were in town that week — the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber — but more on that later. The timeliness makes sense for a brand that’s so steeped in music culture, so sought after by musicians, and from a stylist’s point of view, even better because the musicians were able to don looks fresh off the runway. That’s a sly, but ultimately smart, way to get people talking about the brand, and you know the reality of that these days, any social buzz is good news to designers out to prove that their brand’s alive and #trending.

We have to talk about the location as well. As always, Saint Laurent never fails to disappoint with a kickass production, and this time, it was a moving set of angular light tubes. The iconic location, at the Palladium, has housed music greats, so staging the brand’s always-on-point rockstar collection, was very fitting since the collection also pays tribute to the Los Angeles music scene. Did we mention that’s practically Slimane’s backyard? The revered designer has been living in L.A., a city that has in turn inspired a lot of his recent collections (the Spring/Summer Surf Sound collection, for instance).

2. That A-list black carpet + front row

As we said earlier, the timing was perfect for our favourite celebrities, and the most recognisable faces include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Courtney Love, and Joan Jett. There were plenty of formidable Hollywood actors as well, Sylvester Stallone and Jane Fonda made an appearance, while the young Hollywood set includes Emma Roberts, Dakota Fanning, and Lily Collins.

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L-R: Beck & Justin Bieber, Courtney Love & Lady Gaga; Second Row: Courtney Love, Joan Jett

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L-R: Elle & Dakota Fanning, Sam Smith & Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi; Second Row: Lily Collins, Jane Fonda & Sylvester Stallone

3. The collection itself — every piece was a winner

Model whizzed past bearing Saint Laurent signatures — including coveted leather jackets of course. We have to say, there was way more colour all around, a spritely red for instance, and animal prints abound. Every look was perfectly paired and put together, and the layers both act cohesively, as well as add visual interest in terms of contrast and texture. In short, there wasn’t a blah outfit at all, at least in our eyes. The glam rock elements were unmistakable, thanks to the luxurious fabrics, present in fluffy mink coats, and loud accents (cuffs, collars, jackets, embellishments, metallic fabric). Even if the men sported all-black outfits, the sleek cuts of the tailored suits made them each look like a particularly smooth criminal, as does the distinct fedoras. For the women, we love the culottes, whether in leather or tweed, as wearable styles that when paired well, can make anyone look far from conventional. Here are some of our faves.

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All photos, courtesy of Saint Laurent. VIPs photos, by Saskia Lawaks.