Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Goodbye Mr Slimane .. You Simply Won't Do


There have been many fashion tiffs. Amusing, elegant, and downright witchy. Michael Coady was legendary at ignoring a designer in W/WWD for some transgression, and in those days it mattered. Shop buyers worried and the designer's own staff was chastened. Usually it righted itself with even more pages of advertising and the good make-up days.

It's a business of manners, fashion is. Well, was. It's changed with the economy and technology and a democratic let's get down to business: social media is a term I've come to loathe. It's always and forever about product, about a damn good dress ... after that, all the tweets and blog posts and clever email campaigns may come and go. A good dress which, in my opinion, is ever more elusive .. along with the language of fashion. The shorthand of twitter and thumbs on an iphone have dwarfed description and understanding. Iphone photos in low light and from the third row are, in a word, awful. It's astounding that in a fashion generation, and I have no idea how long that really is, the banned polaroids buyers needed to work in foreign hotel rooms have given way to streaming fashion shows and all the Vogues having instant runway slideshows. The only thing missing and maybe it's on the designer's websites as they have begun to sell directly, oh delicious dreamy profits, to the customer.

Brand loyalty was a requirement. Something Pierre Berge was rather strict about ... the only thing that mattered in the early moments of pret a porter was loyalty and great banking relationships. Even before all the showrooms learned to utter good morning and here's the minimum, the buyer was expected to come back every season, good collection or not, and for this the house limited (well, a few in Milano forgot about this, promising exclusivity to any store that left an order) distribution. Old-fashioned but friendly.

The heartbreakingly creative designers of those early days grew and grew and grew until they were the establishment, millions in the bank and designing hotels, boats, cars and bigger bank accounts. The brand mattered.

Into this brasher, richer moment came Hedi Slimane. Memories of his very good, very slim mens wear in mind, his perhaps eccentric move to Los Angeles and his work as a photographer came together into a very heated debut with his collection for Yves Saint Laurent. Dropping some of the letters, keeping some, adding Paris ... he was allowed all of that. Pierre Berge approved and that was that.

The collection was good ... for a stylist. Not all of it will be bought but there were pieces. A rock-n-roll mood that was genuine a while back when Tom Ford did it at Gucci was not quite as well done in Slimane's hands.

The above tweet, ill-mannered, vulgar, déclassé  ... is the work of Hedi Slimane. It has nothing to do with the history of the House of YSL and nothing to do with anything that is fine and revered.

It is unacceptable. It would be ever so appropriate for Slimane to slouch out of Paris for another city, not wanted.

Can't get the size right of Slimane's awful tweet but it will go to full size if you click on it.


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