Tonight’s show at Le Grand Palais was not short on attitude. Right off the bat came Hanne Gaby Odiele, glaring in combat boots and a short gold-and-black dress. A plaid cardigan seemed literally tossed over her shoulders as she stormed the catwalk to the twangy garage rock of “Tidal Wave 13” by Thee Oh Sees. From there it was a constant stream of riot grrrrrls in oversize plaid button-downs (likely made of something as soft as a flannel you would otherwise have to wash a thousand times), leather skirts, fishnets, and embellished black baby-doll dresses with puffy cap sleeves — all things that Courtney Love might have worn if she were rich in her teenage years. It was a great show for anyone who likes to remember where they were when they heard the news that Kurt Cobain died. Or anybody who wishes they could remember.
The standard way to take over a venerated luxury brand is for the incoming designer to poke around in the archives until they find the elements they want to resurrect for a new era. Last season, Hedi Slimane did a lot more of that to not-so-great reception. But with his second collection at Saint Laurent, the message was literally loud, clear, and confident: Anyone expecting something “more traditionally YSL” can piss off. Hedi has firmly asserted himself at the house. He’s doing Hedi, and that’s okay. This is a lifestyle brand for musicians and those who want to hang out with them. It’s tough, but it’s luxury, down to those heavily embellished (and surely expensive) leather boots. And the army of girls that closed the show in various black leather minidresses was certainly taking no prisoners.