IF YOU get nervous before a big presentation at work, spare a thought for Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons who both unveiled their debut collections for two of the biggest fashion houses on the planet at Paris Fashion Week.
Simons, who took over from the disgraced John Galliano at Dior, was first to show his hand.
To a packed house of fashion editors and celebrities, including Kanye West and Mila Kunis, the Belgian who only took over the label last April, silenced any doubters in the room with a beautiful array of dazzling, desirable and – more importantly – wearable dresses and trouser suits.
The show may have lacked some of the drama (and I imagine the expense) of Galliano’s extravaganzas but he won plaudits for staying true to the couturier’s essence while creating very 21st century pieces.
For a magpie like myself, the super short skirts and irridescent fabrics were a joy.
They are sure to be a hit with Dior’s nouveau riche fans and will no doubt be replicated by the high street come next summer. At least we have all winter to get our pins perfect.
The show was a hit with Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman who declared: “It was everything you expected but in some ways it was completely unexpected.”
Barely had Simons had time to sip Champagne though before all chatter had turned to his style rival Hedi Slimane. Slimane, who took over at Yves Saint Laurent following Stefano Pilati’s departure earlier this year, attracted a slightly starrier crowd and the Parisian was on home turf.
The front row at the Grand Palais was a who’s who of fashion: American Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, Vogue Japan’s editor-at-large Anna Dello Russo, Vivienne Westwood, Diane Von Furstenburg and Marc Jacobs were all present.
Slimane has been quick to stamp his identity on YSL in the past six months. He relocated the design team to LA, removed the Yves from the brand name (a cheeky move in my opinion) and created a new logo.
The response to Slimane’s collection has been mixed. Yves Saint Laurent’s long term partner Pierre Berge gave it his seal of approval and Kate Moss was apparently overheard saying she wanted “everything” in it.
I’m with Kate. However not everyone feels the same. New York Times writer Cathy Horyn who was banned from the Saint Laurent show over a historical spat with Slimane, blogged that she “expected more from his show” and that the clothes “lacked fashion spirit”.
Luckily Slimane was very grown up about the whole thing. Except actually he wasn’t. Not a bit.
He took to Twitter and, in an open letter, ranted that Cathy was a “schoolyard bully” and “her sense of style is seriously challenged”. Talk about designer handbags at dawn.
Yves Saint Laurent, famed for his shyness, must be spinning in his silk lined casket.
Then again they do say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.