Thoughts on the Stunted Women of Saint Laurent

Hedi Slimane’s collections for Saint Laurent continue to convince me that he is perpetually stuck inside the mind of a fourteen-year-old girl longing to be Kate Moss, and his most recent for Fall/Winter 2014 was no exception. Though the pieces aren’t overtly unattractive, as they mainly reference popular vintage styles, I also didn’t find myself lusting after any of it the way I often do after going through the crème de la crème of runway shows.

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Seen together, the looks evoked adolescent conformity, or that false sense of individualism often attributed to hipsters who, in reality, are quite alike. Robin Givhan, of course, described it best in her review, writing:

Youth was underscored and along with it, disenchantment and fatigue at a level that would make Willy Loman seem like an optimist. The models were too cool for joy. With their heavy makeup, bedraggled hair, and unsophisticated demeanors, they came across as smug, grumpy, and dour.

That they did, and in doing so they represented that sphere of fashion which I dislike the most: the one that–probably making up for their having been considered the freaks in adolescence–adopts an air of exclusivity, a non-stop attitude of better-than-thou and blasé. Nothing excites them, and smiles are few and far between. It’s juvenilia that has no end—the most unbearable qualities of youth prolonged.

Slimane also designs only for one body type, a stick-thin pre-pubescent, or an anorexic whose womanhood has been stunted by starvation. If you have legs for days, his dresses will flatter, but otherwise, you should steer clear.

And even if the above does apply to you—does any modern woman want to wear a rotating stream of short, sparkly dresses, and nothing else? I can’t think of any women who would opt for that among the many that I know. Such looks have lost their appeal as of late, and when they do come out, it’s an uncomfortable rarity rather than a natural fallback.

The Edie Sedgwick types walking down Slimane’s runway would have appealed perfectly to my younger self, who dreamt of days at the Factory and a freewheeling life of bars and barbiturates (before I really knew what those were). But like most youthful fantasies, those visions lost their allure with time…the same stories appearing more tortured and sad, rather than exciting and glamorous.

Nevertheless, Slimane appears caught up in the allure of the dangerous It girl–she of no obligations or a concrete day job (or, perhaps, a coddled supermodel at best). The woman who these clothes appeal to is woman-lite, bent on never really growing up, but not in an enlightening way that might actually serve her. She’s Jessa from GIRLS (if Jessa never ate), rolling out of bed at 2:00 pm after a night’s worth of debauchery, pulling on the vintage dress sprawled on the floor nearby, and topping it off with a fur overcoat that lends the necessary stylish touch to her disheveled appearance.

More careless, than carefree—this is not fashion that (like the best kind) taps into the woman I aspire to be.


1 reply »

  1. Thanks for posting this. Although I love Kate Moss and her fashion sense, I do get tired of this “modely teenage straight & flat as a board leggy” get up. I think the problem is that the sophisticated womanly “look” is pricier than this “girly look” especially if you are petite in size. It’s easier to dress cute and cheap, then womanly cheap. Zara woman has nice options, but the sizes seem for long tall woman, so I find myself buying TRFL because the clothes fits and I get bored of clothes or want lots of it without having to spend $200 all the time on a tshirt from Intermix.

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