Saint Laurent Paris

Psych Rock Fashion

No show in men’s fashion has more zest, energy and, most tellingly, connection with youth culture than Saint Laurent Paris by designer Hedi Slimane.

Military marching jackets refer to a 60's subculture mood at Saint Laurent
Military marching jackets refer to a 60’s subculture mood

The mood may be rather retro, but so is much of contemporary music, which is informed by the classical canons of rock’n roll. The look, music and attitude of this show were inspired by modern psych rock, itself a modern reawakening of the psychedelic rock of the 60’s.  It’s brilliantly blistering soundtrack was a remix of “Bright Blue Day Haze” by Mystic Braves, the Los Angeles band that opened for The Zombies, on the recent tour of the organ-driven British Invasion band whose greatest hits were back in the early Sixties.

Slimane's skinny jeans look good in every single season, Saint Laurent
Slimane’s skinny jeans look good in every single season

In pretty much this whole collection Slimane recalled the Sixties – from military jackets with frogging and medallions to Bob Dylan like Cherokee ponchos to Her Majesty’s Secret Services acid color Pied Piper style. Yet it all felt fresh. Re-imagined as an exuberant expression. Rockers are cool not just for their music but precisely for their stylistic, and real, independence. By their ability to live by expressing their feelings and emotions through music. Where the vast majority of the 120 shows we’ve witnessed in London, Milan and Paris were targeted at either at showing a designer’s precise aesthetic or respecting a brand’s DNA, Slimane taps into the zeitgeist he experiences in Los Angeles. And takes it somewhere new, whether it’s the dragoon’s jackets paired with Breton sailors top, or velvet blouson with snow crystal embellishment or camouflage micro parka with golden tassels.

Patchwork ponchos and paisley scarfs make the high-fashion hippie, Saint Laurent
Patchwork ponchos and paisley scarfs make the high-fashion hippie

Before a marvelous wall of twirling light clusters in the Carreau du Temple, models slid out on a conveyor belt before marching down the runway in leather biker jackets trimmed with gold bullion epaulettes or jacquard Billy the Kid western riding jackets.

Embroidered tunics and eponymous bangles create a vintage youth culture vibe in fashion, Saint Laurent
Embroidered tunics and eponymous bangles create a vintage vibe in fashion

Slimane’s fab’ latest invitation look book was composed of images by San Francisco’s anti-establishment assemblage artist Bruce Conner. And ultimately, what Slimane achieves in his fashion, and what makes it important, is a celebration of freedom, of attitude and thought.

In a word, the reigning king of rock’n roll fashion staged an exhilarating show on Sunday night. It may not have been a great tailoring tour de force, or indeed been that path breaking, but as a vision of our times, nobody connected with artistic culture better than Hedi this season.