Saint Laurent rocks the next generation | Inquirer Lifestyle
During the lockdown I kept craving for kare-kare—the old-fashioned kare-kare made with tenderized ox tail and ox leg. I remember the kare-kare my…
Medium Emmanuelle Bucket Bag in Black Leather with Fringes

Saint Laurent rocks the next generation

Yves Saint Laurent’s rebranding  to Saint Laurent ready-to-wear line, dropping  the “Yves” while retaining the YSL name and logo for accessories, and the hiring of Hedi Slimane as its creative director, was truly a master stroke.

Current owner, French luxury conglomerate Kering (which also owns brands such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen, to name a few) has much to celebrate. Slimane took the reins in 2012, and under his creative leadership, Saint Laurent experienced unprecedented sales growth, more than doubling its sales in the last three years.

His secret to success?

Slimane’s immersion in LA’s Hollywood, rock ’n’ roll, and music subculture has provided the artistic inspiration for his 17 collections, presented over the course of three years. He cleverly combines couture that the Yves Saint Laurent brand is known for and street spirit, creating a different kind of “punk couture.” This enabled Saint Laurent to appeal and connect to a wider and younger demographic. 

The Saint Laurent Fall-Winter 2015 Collection, at a  presentation in Beijing, also showed stronger bling or stage fashion. Black with metallic colors like silver and gold, sequins, embroidery, or fringed details provided movement to the dress, or it could be shredded and torn with leather—very rock star, indeed, and guaranteed to make a fashion statement. The silhouette was about the mini shift and shirt dress, tight or full-skirted.

For men, everything was skinny, so expect clothes to be one size bigger than the standard shirt/pants sizes. 

Accessories contributed to the total integrated look of the ready-to-wear collection, so bags had details such as fringe and metal spikes  in different sizes and shapes, colors, patterns and leather materials. Bags had double-sided leather construction (the inside lining was in suede)—a bit heavier, but made to last. The 1960s-inspired micro or mini bags were so adorable.

For men’s shoes, there were pointy, high-heeled and even metallic gold boots. They’ve also recently introduced the men’s travel bag line in canvas, as inspired by Hedi Slimane’s regular commute between Paris and LA.

Investment pieces

At the same time, the collection presented key investment pieces like the Le Smoking suit, which Saint Laurent believed empowered women in an era when it was unthinkable to dress women in suits. Le Smoking suits are almost always a combination of materials in the lapel and body, and they’re also very versatile. The tuxedo suit in itself is very formal, but when worn with skinny jeans, takes on a smart casual look.

Saint Laurent also espouses the Wardrobe concept in their stores, not promoting a specific look, but a mix-and-match approach. Given the price points, Saint Laurent believes that every piece you purchase is a key investment that can be worn from season to season, mixing and matching with previous, current and future collections.

For first-time buyers, Saint Laurent Beijing’s PR manager, Richard Weng, recommends buying a wardrobe staple like a Le Smoking jacket for men or women, a basic skinny jean, which will have all the couture details reflecting the premium quality of the brand, a 100-percent authentic wool jacket or trench coat for keeps, or a dream piece: an exquisite lambskin leather jacket that’s so soft to the touch and will age naturally with time and constant use.

Slimane truly understands that Saint Laurent must look to the future, with a very strong link to YSL’s couture heritage and history, but able to connect to the current generation.

He is able to express his own style of the creative boldness and genius that Yves Saint Laurent possessed in his time that made YSL a big name in French couture. With the rebirth of the Saint Laurent brand, which has become a case study for the Kering group, Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy lives on.

Saint Laurent accessories are available in Rustan’s Makati or at the Saint Laurent boutique in Shangri-La Plaza East Wing. It’s exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists Inc. of the SSI Group.

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