Monday, 30 September 2013

Saint Laurent S/S14: The waif chic look has gone too far

There's a point at which the banality of seeing size 0 models on the catwalk goes too far; when it stops being banal and starts being a cry for help. For me, that point came when flicking through the images of the Spring/Summer 2014 Saint Laurent (the brand formerly known as YSL) collection by Hedi Slimane.

Slimane, it's fair to say, loves the waif chic look through and through; he champions Pete Doherty, grunge and the faux-punk rebellion of the over-hyped Cara Delevingne, and he's previously created a book of rock photographs in his spare time. However, whilst I'm willing to accept the flannel shirts and rock 'n' roll attitude he brings to the brand, I am not at all comfortable with the aesthetic that his models are simultaneously bringing to the table. 

Hedi Slimane's SS14 womenswear with rock n roll aesthetic
[Images via]. The Saint Laurent look for next season: worryingly thin.

The skeletal figures are not only upsetting, but they're also distracting, to the point where I can barely see the clothes because all I can picture are the jutting collarbones, alarming thigh gaps and paper-thin arms. I know that these models have walked other shows this season, that they look like hundreds of others on the circuit, but I've never seen their shape - or lack of shape - emerge quite so disturbingly from the catwalk before. This is not femininity or girl power; it is plain and simple deprivation.

Perhaps it's the slimline aesthetic of Hedi Slimane's designs, with the deliberately skinny ties and the asymmetric tops and dresses designed to highlight the shoulder and the collarbone? Whatever it is, it's not making me feel good about fashion or the health of these poor girls. Yes, they lead pressured lives and may 'accidentally forget to eat' sometimes or 'have a really fast metabolism', but at some point shouldn't the people around them intervene for the sake of their wellbeing?

Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 14 dresses in black and gold
Somebody please take these girls aside and give them a hug.

Besides the lack of professional concern for the models' physical and mental health, what concerns me is that these girls will be seen by the fashion world, and everyone interested in it, as perfectly normal, right down to the pre-teens who idolise them. Surely there is something wrong with the message being sent out here.

Considering the legacy of fashion shows past, I guess it shouldn't even be shocking to see such emaciated figures strutting down the runway, as the size 0 phenomenon has stayed with us since the 90s and shows depressingly little sign of disappearing. Maybe I was naive to hope that we'd get a bit more diversity in modelling in the 21st Century, with the healthier figures used by Mark Fast and, most recently, championed in the form of step dancers at Rick Owens' S/S14 show. But change is what we need, before we really do get stuck in a rut of terrifying proportions for the next generation of women seeking beauty validation from the catwalk.

Whatever Slimane might think, I do not believe that these girls should be modelling and I do not believe they should be part of his look. I really hope this show isn't the shape of things to come.


  1. Someone should take them aside and give them a roast dinner! Then a hug.x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...