The Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 16 collection was both men’s and women’s…and there’s so much to say. Overall, the collection screamed subculture rock and roll lifestyle…elevated. Think Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols with leather jackets and skinny pants meets Mick Jagger with Brit glam embellishments and long scarves.
First, the menswear was all about the androgyny from the extremely short and thin male models, the capes, long coats, extremely skinny cropped pants, and scarves paired with dark boots. The fabric was rich in luxe jacquards, velvet, and textured knit, embellished with Brit glam elements like large gold nautical buttons, long officer coats, embroidered cuffs, and oversized belts. Looks for the men to strut in. There were a few unfortunate fittings as the pants seemed to be squeezing the men too tightly in the most uncomfortable area. It’s a wince to see, so I’m sure it’s a wince to wear too.
The androgynous concept is not applied to the women’s looks, but the Brit rock elements continue with long officer coat dresses, gold embroidery over black, long embellished leather knee boots paired with cropped pants and midi skirts, and leather biker jackets. It’s all a bit rock, subculture reinterpreted into high fashion.
I love the fabrics, but the men’s fit and the proportions detracted from the beauty of both the designs as well as the luxe fabrics. Still, there were a few gorgeous looks like the gold feather-embroidered black dress with a plunging neckline and heavy handkerchief skirt.
But the real critique is on the concept. It’s a little comical that Saint Laurent – a high fashion house – makes a collection centered around subculture…when subculture is a reaction and critique against high culture. It’s like making a tribute to an entire group of people who dedicate their lives to mocking you and your values. But maybe that’s intentional – that in this evolved era, Saint Laurent no longer takes itself too seriously? Perhaps. Either way, it raised an eyebrow. Makes me want to pull out the vinyl and make it an old school music night.