Burnouts, artists, musicians, surfers, slackers and their girls, there was an overall jumble-grunge vibe at the Saint Laurent SS'16 show earlier this week. As usual, creative director, Hedi Slimane kept tight lipped about his muses and rather, let the collection speak for itself.
It's pretty clear that Slimane had the Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck on his mind, what with the white glasses, abundance of flannelette and the strung-out bleach mop-headed models and all; but the collection, entitled Surf Sound: A Tribute to Contemporary Californian Surf Music Culture attempted to dive deeper than grunge clichés.
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The boys, dressed in op-shop wares of patchwork jackets, suede fringing, skinny jeans (natch) and layere '90s-vibed tees and sweaters, slumped their way down the runway, shoulders rounded. The mood? Apathetic.
The girls, interestingly, were the polar opposite - the bad-ass grunge goddesses of Saint Laurent past, with ripped stockings, smoked eyes and unkempt hair were gone, and in their place? Clean, pretty girls in '90s-like dresses of lace, polkadots, pussy-bow detailing and classic daisy prints (but the leather jackets remained). Don't get us wrong, these girls are still part of the Slimane's cool clique, but there was a quietness, a homely attitude, mixed with a sense of wanderlust - as if they were yearning to be picked up by a desert-drifter. Yep, these girls own the couches on which the bad boys burnouts love to crash.
While Slimane dropped hints of the mediums, cultures, people, places and sounds that inspired his collection, as always, it's a pop culture guessing game. Here, we round up six of the references linked to his adopted West Coast home we spotted in the show.
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Let's kick off with the most obvious of the reference used by Slimane: Kurt Cobain. The white glasses, the flannelette shirting, the cardigans... What we have here is basically a paint-by-numbers guide to dressing like the grunge icon.
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Rose Bowl Market
Golden Girl-like cardigans layered over op-shop-y sweaters and multiple scarves, '80s-surf bombers and sports jackets, tie-dyed jumpers paired with denim shirting and ripped denim - it's almost as if Saint Laurent was Pasadena's Rose Bowl market jumble sale brought to life.
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Before Californian-born Beck was known to the masses as the guy who beat Beyoncé and Sam Smith for the 2015 Grammy Album of the Year, he was an early '90s low-fi icon. Tracing the line between psychedelia, funk, soul, alt country, as well as ruling the LA anti-folk scene, his vibe was quintessentially 90s-slacker-cool, which filters through the show. After all, he was the man behind the ironic anthem of '92, 'Loser'.
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Though the iconic folk singer and environmentalist was born in Canada, he has based himself in California since the late '60s, and therefore has been deeply influential with the state's pop cultural history and musical influence. His presence was felt in the patchwork jackets, suede fringing and camouflage overcoats.
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Billy Al Bengston