Hedi Slimane’s recent Spring 2013 Saint Laurent collection received mixed reviews from critics, including Robin Givhan at the Daily Beast and Cathy Horyn from The New York Times. But influential buyers from major U.S. retailers are giving the revamped Saint Laurent collection a big thumbs up.
The disaparity between the critical reviews and the buyers enthusiasm is palpable. For instance, Horyn called the Spring 2013 show "a nice but frozen vision of a bohemian chick at the Chateau Marmont."
Givhan complained that Slimane's pants made the models look too skinny: "Slimane’s silhouette looks to be so unforgiving that it could be a financial liability to a brand trying to build its clientele." And she charged that his gowns and dresses made the models look too fat. "They often made his rail-thin models look bulky," she wrote.
So much for critical nit-picking. Buyers from major trend-determining department and speciality stores, such as Bergdorf Goodman, lauded Slimane’s modernity and diversity. Even Barneys has called his collection modern, sexy, and desirable. Neiman Marcus has dubbed the Saint Laurent designs “the new cool girl’s uniform” praising Slimane's skinny tuxedo pants, cropped Spencer jackets and romantic blouses.
Francois Henri Pinault, CEO of the house’s parent company PPR – is also pleased with Slimane's new presentation and modern vision.
“Hedi Slimane did a remarkable job," Pinault told WWD. "I liked last Monday’s fashion show very much: the Saint Laurent collection exceeded my expectations. The house needed both a renovation and a return to its roots and, with Hedi, we have started down that road."
Pinault also noted that retailers are already talking with their checkbooks. “The initial sales trend we’re seeing at the showroom since the fashion show is very encouraging."
But he doesn’t appreciate being drawn into that online squabble between the designer and style scribe Horyn, who was banned from the Spring show and all future shows by the designer himself.
“I totally stand by the house of Yves Saint Laurent and the decisions made by its teams or its artistic director, and I didn’t appreciate that some people tried to use me by linking my name to chatter about invitations or the seating of this or that person.”
He's obviously referring to Horyn's blog in which she wrote about talking with Pinault about not getting a seat. “Mr. Pinault expressed dismay. 'That’s ridiculous,’ he said. ‘Journalists should be invited to shows.’ Quite so. But I suspected that Mr. Pinault was in a jam. Having given Mr. Slimane much authority to remake Saint Laurent, he could scarcely take it away from him.”
It's worth noting that Slimane has now removed his derogatory tweets about Horyn from his Twitter, with no explanation.
Sounds like the designer has decided to take the high road. It's a much nicer view from up there.