It has been a tumultuous year for Yves Saint Laurent. With the appointment of Hedi Slimane as heir to the storied French house’s design throne and a controversial name change, the Saint Laurent collection for Spring/Summer 2013 has been as speculative and hotly-anticipated as any in recent memory. If Stefano Pilati’s spring collection a year ago was a return to North Africa — the birthplace of Yves himself — Slimane’s offerings for the season appear to be a return to his own roots. With a primary palette of black and white, along with glitzy splashes of gold and bronze, the clothes very much suggest vintage Slimane and his inseparable music-driven sensibilities. “I was literally born with a David Bowie album in my hand,” he once said in an interview, and this fixation was reintroduced with an array of pompadours, waifish models and glam rock silhouettes that populate the Slimane-photographed lookbook. His signature razor-sharp, slim-cut suits abound, as do an array of polka dots, leopard prints, and nautical stripes on shirts and ties — garments befitting a rock god. Meanwhile, the inclusion of “Le Smoking”-referencing shawl-collared evening jackets — albeit in flashy makeups — serve as a reminder that this is indeed the inaugural collection of Saint Laurent and not the latest showing by Dior Homme. Saint Laurent himself worked in an unpredictable, narrative-defying manner — the designer would follow a Russian-themed collection with a Chinese-inspired sequel, for example. Perhaps, in this way, Slimane has hewed most closely to the ethos of the iconic fashion house, keeping us guessing at what the future has in store.
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