The fashion world is ripe with cyber bullies. The day after new collections are sent down the runway, designers hold their breath while they log online to read the reviews—the results often lie at two ends of the spectrum: really positive or really negative. “Trolls” rule this space within the fashion sphere and have the power to make or break designers’ careers and subsequently the success of global companies. Although professional critics are the ones who ultimately decide whether or not a collection fits within their confine of what qualifies as “good” at that particular moment in time, they have been known to be quite harsh. Despite cutting words from these critics however, words from the mass populace can prove to be equally detrimental. After all, it is the fashion-informed public that will be purchasing the items from such collections upon their arrival to retail outlets.
Not to overkill the topic of Saint Laurent Paris, but one particular designer who has received a noteworthy amount of heat from critics and fashion fans alike this season is Hedi Slimane. I’ve mentioned my opinion about Slimane’s immediate re-branding of the iconic YSL label in my post Why-SL?, and yet, I’m surprised by what he chose to send down the runway of his Fall 2013 Ready to Wear collection. According to critics, Slimane’s second women’s collection was an extension of his men’s show, and drew inspiration from the 90’s grunge era. Similar to the L.A. environs that dictated his vision, Slimane made sure that the venue was heated to a true Californian temperature and vibrated to the bass of true grunge rock. As reported by The Man Repeller, rejections of this collection came fast and furious and included a few of the following:
What the hell is Hedi Slimane thinking?
Oh my dear Lord. Is this Saint Laurent, or an average girls high street wardrobe? I want to cry.
What the hell happened to YSL? I’ve seen people on skid row dressed better.
We did not need a Rachel Zoe x Marc Jacobs grunge resort collection.
Saint Laurent show, a huge joke on the fashion industry?
Women’s Wear Daily reports that Saint Laurent is relocating their Paris studios. Hopefully they don’t tell Hedi where they’re going.
Twitter, among other social media sites, were afire with disgusted fans’ opinions. Not only were YSL aficionados shocked by Slimane’s complete disregard for the house’s legendary aesthetic, but critics weren’t impressed by the old-school grunge look. In this sense, I have to agree with this overarching public opinion, but there is always another side to the story. Although his collection may not be of mine, or the collective public’s taste, Slimane stayed true to his vision—and based on his re-branding of the company, his vision would inevitably differ from Yves’s. Bashing on designers’ collections will never be void from the fashion world, but people need to remember that theirs is not the only opinion, nor is it necessarily the best. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but people should try their best to express it in a constructive way, not through a nasty comment. Designers are artists and they operate with specific visions in mind, yet they are also creating garments for the public to clothe themselves in—they want people to admire and wear their clothes, just as much as they want to turn a profit.