This month’s cover of Vogue Paris features German model Anna Ewers in looks from Saint Laurent’s spring collection: a cropped leather jacket with ridged detailing, skin-tight daisy dukes with split sides, embellished with crystal and a studded brown belt. Her face, with lips puckered to a pout, is superimposed over the “G,” which, in editorial parlance, is prime real estate. If Chanel really did liberate women’s bodies from the corset, she eventually imposed tyranny over a new body ideal: slender and svelte, the loose silhouette that makes you wonder if a woman’s torso has been sucked into the chasm of black silk. Likewise, if Hedi Slimane really revolutionised men’s dressing, as the loyalists winsomely suggest, it wasn’t that he extended the metaphor of what clothes could mean, or offer, to this generation of misfits and ciphers. He was, on the contrary, aggressively myopic about his vision. “He’s very interested in the reality of a scene,” notes Emmanuelle Alt, editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. “Any girl of twenty years old can completely relate.”
His latest menswear collection was a distillation of that scene: a conjuration of lyrical Californian haze, cadaverous band mates and benumbed play mates; music and mayhem; all the grit of youth, carried on the backs of kids plucked from the street in the scorned face of bourgeois dignity. Mr Slimane opened with a black pea coat, styled over a striped T-shirt and skinny jeans. A passel of suits soon followed in pinstripe and solid black, with shoulders both padded and rounded. The girls wore little black dresses with big berets—a cursory nod to consummate French chic—and the boys wore speckled jackets and silver shoes. One of these models wore a shirt of Italian silk and pants of sweat-lodged leather. His pointy shoes might have been stolen from a sex shop window; his fuzzy fur coat, in the glaring pink of Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Shocking” tone, perhaps from a grimly lit vintage shop in Paris. The exit was as wonderful and ungainly as it sounds.