Why So Serious?
Saint Laurent’s New Store: Hedi’s Paris Haven
In a gracious homecoming for the house of Yves Saint Laurent, the Paris flagship store at 53 Avenue Montaigne opens its doors today to offer the world’s largest selection of Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, showcased in a light-filled bunker of statue-white marble. Across two spacious floors above street level, the 900-square-meter space designed by Mr. Slimane himself, proposes an interplay of matte and shine through a resplendent fusion of materials: from mirror-polished brass to wood-grained concrete and walls of finely quilted leather.
“Saint Laurent Avenue Montaigne was designed and executed following the pure tradition of French Arts Décoratifs,” Slimane says. “It is also an homage to Yves Saint Laurent’s attraction to French modernism.” Never one to mince words, it’s a timely reference from the designer when one skips across the street to the current exhibition “Dynamo: A Century of Light and Movement in Art,” held at the Grand Palais one hundred years after 1913, crowned the year of French modernism.
Light, movement, and echoes of that glamorous époque are all integral components in Slimane’s store architecture—starting with the LED strips embedded beneath nickel shelving. Upon entering, an elevated entrance opens onto a rigorous assembly of accessories vitrines, where one may find the Helmut Newton–inspired Paris pumps alongside both the Betty and Lulu bags, new styles dedicated to Yves’s muses Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. On both levels, floor-to-ceiling video screens reveal an ambient slideshow, which features the men’s and women’s spring 2013 ad campaign. Meters away, those garments hang from the ceiling on mirrored frames, allowing clients to explore the systematic collections of womens- and menswear in their various capsules—from Slimane’s rigorous canvas tailoring to the lauded Perfecto biker range and a smorgasbord of denim from distressed to the deepest indigo.
Downstairs, a gallery devoted to evening opens onto a mirrored VIP room (reminiscent of a rather chic “backstage” situation). Not only for the ladies, it’s here that a more adventurous gentleman may order the season’s black sequined Le Smoking, a style unveiled by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo—the latest stars of the aforementioned musical photo series.
In yet another transcontinental harmony born of Slimane’s Paris–Southern California lifestyle (the designer famously relocated the Saint Laurent design studio to Los Angeles in 2012), the Avenue Montaigne opening on Thursday will be followed hours later by its L.A. equivalent, with a temporary boutique at 469 North Rodeo Drive replacing the existing store. The calculated serendipity of Slimane’s universe strikes again, and may well prove the winning factor in his freedom fight for rogue spirit and its place in luxury today
Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2013
Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2013
Freja Beha Erichsen: Couture - Vogue Paris by Inez & Vinoodh, May 2013