Man on the Move: The Reimagination of Hedi Slimane’s YSL - An Ode to a Culture Shifter

Saint Laurent Fall 2016

Saint Laurent Fall 2016

Although we have officially exited the epoch of Hedi Slimane at YSL – or more correctly Saint Laurent – there is not an expiration date on the ubiquitous influence of Slimane’s time as creative director. What he achieved at this landmark design label was monumental in how it effectively disrupted the fashion industry. By focusing on the daring panache of 70s rock-n-roll, he reinstalled an ease of coolness into a brand that was not on the minds of sartorially inclined millennials for some time. Taking attentive notes from the visual blueprint set forth by Slimane’s last collection for the historic fashion house, it becomes apparent that one does not need distracting bells and whistles to institute style. Just add some retro and unconventional touches to a get-up. The latter task is ambiguous enough to blend into a man’s wardrobe regardless of his individual style aesthetic.

Style Advice: Riffing off the tuxedo look as seen on Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 2016 runway, we see an established essence of cool with a top hat, sunglasses and flared pants. Easy elements like these are apt for amplifying the contemporary take on a traditional code of dressing. Irrespective of any specific occasion, this tux ensemble is bad-ass and can be accomplished on a less dressed up scale. A grey plaid sport coat with a peak lapel, from Joseph Abboud, will extract the same visceral fascination from an onlooker as the Slimane’s output at YSL. When this low-cut double breasted vest is slipped underneath, one will then distill maximum level of sartorial inspiration with minimum effort. Directly mimicking the muted effervescence of the black polka dot shirt shown, go for a quality imitation with a casual flair from River Island. A grosgrain bow tie from Barneys will lay nicely over the latter.

The key to the success of the trousers showcased in the look from Saint Laurent is the break on the hem. Ever so elongated, but not in the spirit of pretentious oversizing. After detailed research this has proven to be unique to YSL. On the more accessible level – since we are styling this look with boots – go for a tapered cut and slightly cropped hem from Reiss. The latter will lay a very handsome foundation for suede side zip boots from Doucal with a 1.75 inch heel. Complete the head-to-toe with a felt hat from Zara, simple, classic, uncontended, and you know it will work somewhere in your wardrobe, outside of the context of this specific look. That is always the essential point of any product acquisition, especially clothing, is how interchangeable an item is. We’ve now mastered an ensemble inspired by a master of garmenting and style. While his time at the storied fashion house has passed, we’ll always have our make-shift look as great memorabilia.

Must-Have: As an aesthete, there are nonnegotiable items that one should have in his arsenal. A good waistcoat (known as a vest) is certainly one of them. This classic item is not to be confined to completing the look of a three-piece suit. It can also add a polished touch to the pairing of a cotton button down shirt with denim, and so many more well curated ensembles. It is an advanced level layering piece that comes without guidelines, forcing one to rely on good taste and skill. To accomplish versatility, get a waistcoat that has a life all its own, instead of one that comes with a set. This wool/cotton contrast double breasted vest from Massimo Dutti is just the neutral and thoughtfully designed piece that can turn your wardrobe on its head.

From left to right: John Vavartos and Fear of God.

From left to right: John Vavartos and Fear of God.

Industry Update: NYFW Men’s is the final installment in male centered fashion month, a time of trend forecasting and symbolic dressing designated for men. Indoctrinated by the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), and sponsored most prominently by Amazon, the most recent NYFW: Men’s was leaner on star talent but heavy on messaging and pushing fashion forward.

There was John Varvatos’ outerwear frenzy, the subversion of gender expression at Palomo Spain, knitwear re-modulations at Orley, and Fear of God’s nostalgic – but still contemporary - street style realism. What this overwhelmingly disjointed, and possibly soon obsolescent, week did best was highlight the nuance of choice men have as it concerns garmenting. On a given day one can indulge in street culture, bring preppy back, get femme with it, or make a loud declarative remark with outerwear. The most daring of us may do all at once. Like any well-orchestrated fashion week, the set of talent presented at NYFWM did not disappoint in challenging our social ideals, getting us to dream, and instilling the right amount of excitement for the sartorial days that lie ahead.