Paris Sessions

Saint Laurent FW15
29 January 2015

This season’s artist at Saint Laurent was Oscar Tuazon. Synonymous with his splintered wood struts and raw concrete work, Tuazon lived in Paris from 2007 to 2012, before he moved his studio to Los Angeles in 2013. Sound familiar? That’s just the beginning. Tuazon also featured in a collaborative exhibition, Fragments Americana, curated by Hedi Slimane in 2011, at the gallery Almine Rech.

As the Carreau du Temple’s mirrored backdrop shapeshifted and glittered like the Eiffel Tower (on the hour), Paris was writ large this season, and the magnificent dance a pailette throws between light and shadow is just one of many things Slimane and Monsieur Saint Laurent have in common. In a show heavy on the black, we got berets (punctured with plenty of pins), Breton stripes and a lot of leather: you couldn’t help but ponder the Beatnik collection YSL did for Dior haute couture in 1960, crafting biker jackets in crocodile and mink reflecting the Rive Gauche look and an exciting literary-fuelled ‘ideas’ culture. If Slimane’s FW15 is made for 20 Gitanes unfiltered, so was Yves’ – it was the collection that saw him excommunicated from Dior, too radical for ladies wot lunch.

‘Paris’ is also one of the signature escarpin silhouettes for women inaugurated by Hedi since the beginning of his (second) tenure at Saint Laurent, an impossibly elegant thin, high heel without a platform. Squared out, the boys got elevated this season, as their boots hit a no-compromise 80mm, propelling the silhouette to new heights – literally – and authoring a new mannerism. In EU43+, the footwear was more dramatic than the girls’ own in the show. (And how lovely it is to see both sexes in equilibrium, walking together. Again that dialogue is crucial, since Saint Laurent’s greatest gift to women was a man’s Le Smoking).

Amidst the moodiest hue, there was a pink fur coat – and that must be mentioned. Earlier this week Paul Simonon explained to this writer, at his new London exhibition, how ‘pink is a very rock n roll colour’. It’s what The Clash painted all their equipment in. What makes it so fantastic is a glamour of defiance. It was reinforced here.

But beyond the clear desirability of these clothes, there is a higher purpose. On Sunday morning, eight or nine hours before the show, a photographic series by Slimane was posted online: Paris Sessions 1, paying tribute to a nouvelle vague in French music. Here is their wardrobe.

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show