Saint Laurent SS16 show report Paris Fashion Week

Hedi Slimane shows a grunge-age prom queen but loosens his grip on the lean

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Stop everything. Hedi Slimane has introduced a baggy jean at Saint Laurent. Well, it certainly looked that way at his SS16 show but having looked at so many flat, spindle-limbed bodies for so long it’s possible the looser-look, stonewashed, mid-rise denims with lightly patched back pockets were still deceptively tiny and my vision very warped. They looked almost wearable.

And the jeans weren’t the only sign that Hedi might have loosened his grip on the micro-silhouette he has offered until now. The tailoring, for instance, was all based on menswear: blazers were oversized, leathers looser and jackets more generous. After so many seasons of shrunken cropped bombers and whip-thin suiting, here were tuxedos, weathered biker leathers and stonewashed denim jackets that looked near-commodious in design. True, each was worn with a sheer grunge dress — teeny slips of transparent sequin, silver lamé or silk that barely concealed the body and skimmed high on the thigh — and a tiara, but these new cuts were a revelation for those of us who have been shopping in Saint Laurent menswear until now.

The look here was Courtney Love, circa 1990 and in 10 kinds of trouble. Animal print featured throughout and many of the looks were gussied up in giant shrugs of shearling or oversized sweaters with their sleeves distressed just so. Most looks were worn with wellingtons, thick black or khaki rubber boots fit for the festival set and largely unbranded; it will take a keen eye to identify the Saint Laurent boot behind the Pyramid stage. Presumably, then, the fashion peacocks will preen in the version with embroidered needlepoint florals down the side. Alternative footwear came in the shape of a slim two-strap sandal with a thin “Paris” heel.

After some 50 versions of this broke-down prom queen, Slimane turned the tables and the last dozen looks were long black evening gowns. The designer announced earlier this summer he would be reviving the old couture house at Saint Laurent — but only to make special orders for his private clients and celebrity friends. Here was a taster of what we will soon be seeing on the red carpet: fluid, plunging, slit to the thigh and dangerously revealing. No tiaras needed here, these gowns sparkled all on their own.

For more reports from the Paris shows, go to our fashion weeks page, or our Paris Collections Women SS16 fashion weeks hub, on FT.com

Photographs: Catwalking

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