How does it feel to receive a standing ovation from Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda, Demi Moore, Justin Bieber, Joan Jett, Courtney Love, Sylvester Stallone, Sam Smith, Lenny Kravitz, Zac Effron, Linda Ramone (et al)? One will have to ask Hedi Slimane, the creative director of Saint Laurent, who received this honour at the end of his Hollywood Palladium show in LA last night.
The rock-ready collection marked the 50th anniversary of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (the original couture house’s prêt-a-porter line), mixing menswear with what was labelled 'Part I' of womenswear ('Part II' being shown in Paris on 7 March).
For A/W 2016 the performance travelled from Paris to Los Angeles, where the designer has lived since 2008, having also relocated the Saint Laurent design studio in 2012. In spite of the rumours of his impending departure from Saint Laurent, insistently denied by his reps, the designer quietly pieced together a sophisticated, gender-bending, state-of-the-art rock couture collection set against a backdrop designed by artist/collaborator Lucia Santina Ribisi.
Announced via billboards plastered all over town, and perfectly timed five days before the Grammy Awards, the event was imbued with the ethos of its historic Hollywood Palladium venue – a 4,000 capacity ballroom in an Art Deco building transformed in the 1960s into a rock venue.
Last night it was filled with an epic line up of 13 bands on stage and 71 models and musicians wearing 93 looks. Showcased long after everyone had happily mingled on a red-lit dance floor, the collection itself was quintessential of Slimane's signature style, collecting 1960s and 70s Hollywood-Strip-heyday references, intermixed with the couture house’s DNA courtesy of reissued archive prints.
The collection was also peppered with various musical homages, from 1970s British rock bands, to Bowie and the psych rock era – a theme first explored in Slimane's S/S 2013 Saint Laurent collection.
Iconic, maxi length jupe culottes cut in bourgeois leather were paired with pussy bow silky blouses and high heeled glam boots, dramatised with studded, tapestry or embroidered jackets or gold mink coats, while many waists were cinched by oversized, buckled belts.
The show’s lanky, street-cast boys were adorned with dapper fedoras, silk scarves, military or velvet jackets, never parting from their signature Slimane legging-esque slender pants. The palette was an explosion of glitter, sequins, gold, silver, black against red lipstick notes, foxy browns and animal prints, the whole show shimmering in its own aura of ‘Rock my Religion’ ecstasy.