RUNWAY: Saint Laurent FW16Hedi Slimane's tenure at Saint Laurent has been fraught with rumors, gossip and spectacle. When 2016 hit, rumors in Paris started swirling that he was on his way out the door then he cancelled Saint Laurent's men's FW16 show in Paris. The rumors reached a fever pitch at that point. It was eventually announced that Saint Laurent would show not in Paris, or New York, but in Los Angeles, where Slimane has lived since departing Dior Homme nearly a decade ago. The show, at LA's iconic Palladium, was billed all-Hedi, meaning that the press-shy designer's creations would be the focus and he was not leaving (yet). This could be a turning point in the label's future, bypassing the European shows and the newly formed NYFWM to show in Los Angeles, to appease Slimane.
When the lights dimmed at the Palladium, just days before the Grammy's, the collection was a revelation in chic, albeit in super slim proportions. Slimane revived Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture, with two new couture ateliers, one of them focusing on tailoring. Though this collection is undoubtedly ready to wear, the influences of YSL couture showed here with a sophisticated collection full of opulence, take the gold mink coat or the lush embroidery on a trim jacket. After the kerfuffle over the label's name change, the banning of certain journalists, and the sometimes inability of the designer to take criticism, this collection in LA is Slimane's best argument for why he deserves to stay at Saint Laurent and why Kering, its parent company, should acquiesce to the designer's wants.