Rick Owens had a burning pyre on his runway Taibbi On The Madness Of Donald Trump shirt. Models walked on water at Saint Laurent. Mugler had bike shorts and Cardi B, Maison Margiela showed guys in gowns, and Dries Van Noten offered one of the prettiest color statements of the season. But do you think anyone at Paris Fashion Week had anything on their minds besides Hedi Slimane and his debut for Celine? This has been a solid season overall, with the Paris collections leading the charge, possibly benefiting from an incredible spell of beautiful weather in the French capital that has helped offset the typical cases of the over-its that strike editors right about now.
This is Day 24 of the spring collections as I type at a hotel bar, waiting for a martini to raise a little toast to Mr Taibbi On The Madness Of Donald Trump shirt. Slimane. He deserves one. It’s been more than two years since the designer, who so famously put men in skinny pants and ladies in vampy mini-dresses at Saint Laurent, turned his back on the fashion world, returning his focus to photography and his life in Los Angeles. That’s about as far from the clichés of Paris chic as you can get. At Saint Laurent, and Dior before that, he did things his way: skinny, black, sleek, sequined, sexy, rocker, young, younger, youngest. As much as some critics found it a broken record, his cool factor was money in the bank for Saint Laurent. So. When Slimane was selected as the new designer of Celine, replacing the well-regarded though also-frustratingly-elusive Phoebe Philo, the fashion flock went absolutely bananas. Philo created clothing for smart, cultured, critical women. Her clothes slouched in ways that seemed the opposite of effortless. You had to be in-the-know to know just how beautiful they really were. They were not for attracting men, but perhaps for buffering them, an automatic filter for discarding drooling slobs and duty-free shoppers. They were for women to be taken seriously. Can we ever really say that about Slimane’s work at Saint Laurent?