PHOTOS: Saint Laurent’s Show Draws France’s First Lady, Cathy Horyn’s Wrath

He changed the name of the house, moved the atelier to Los Angeles, overhauled the branding, and yesterday Hedi Slimane showed his first collection for Saint Laurent (hold the Yves, please).

As you might expect, it was one of the hottest tickets of Paris Fashion Week (along with Raf Simons’ Dior debut, natch), and the front row was populated not only with the usual industry heavyweights, but also with France’s First Lady Valerie Trierweiler, who took her seat next to Anna Wintour. Plenty of big name designers were also in the house: Diane Von Furstenberg, Azzedine Alaïa, Alber Elbaz, Peter Dundas, Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, and Vivienne Westwood were joined by musicians Jamie Hince (with wife Kate Moss by his side) and Daft Punk, and, from Slimane’s other chosen field, photographers Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino, and Mario Sorrenti. Rounding out the pack were newly-minted spokesmodel Jessica Chastain, and Yves’ longtime consorts Pierre Berge and Betty Catroux.

The show, which Slimane dedicated to Bergé, harkened back to the 1966, when Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutique opened on Paris’ left bank, marking the first time a French couturier put their skills towards a complete ready-to-wear line. The influence of the period is clear from the first look, with its floppy, wide-brimmed hat shading a skinny tuxedo suit, a signature of both Yves and Dior Homme-era Hedi. And, even 50 years later, Catroux could not have missed the suede lace-up, safari-style pieces that mimicked the iconic dress she wore to the Rive Gauche opening. The house has also been known for its celebration of bohemia, a theme that snaked through the Spring 2013 collection in sheer, trailing hems, voluminous sleeves, and fringed capes that swung as the models sashayed down the runway.

But while most critics lauded the invocation of the past, the New York TimesCathy Horyn criticized Slimane’s “frozen vision of a bohemian chick at the Chateau Marmont,” asserting that it “lacked a new fashion spirit” and likening it to the vintage-chic look put forward by various designers and stylists in the past few years (*cough* Rachel Zoe *cough*). While unabashed fans of this look ourselves, we do see Horyn’s point — even more so when it comes to the lack of professionalism exhibited by Slimane by denying her an invite to the show in the first place. As she explains:

I was not invited. Despite positive reviews of his early YSL and Dior collections, as well as a profile, Mr. Slimane objected bitterly to a review I wrote in 2004 — not about him but Raf Simons. Essentially I wrote that without Mr. Simons’s template of slim tailoring and street casting, there would not have been a Hedi Slimane — just as there would never have been a Raf Simons without Helmut Lang. Fashion develops a bit like a genetic line. Anyway, Mr. Slimane insisted that he was the first to show the skinny suit. It was a silly debate. Who cares? As time went on, he also felt (as best as I can tell) that I gave preference to Mr. Simons in my coverage of the men’s shows. If I gave him attention, it was because his work and my reporting into the key early part of his career merited it. I haven’t spoken to Mr. Slimane in five years.

This seems like an awfully long time to hold a grudge, and how else to explain an invite denied to one of the industry’s most prominent critics? Even Oscar de la Renta plans to have a front row seat waiting next season, and she called him street meat. We’ve reached out to the house for comment and will update when we hear back — but in the meantime, perhaps it’s time for the enfant terrible to grow up a little?

Check out the pictures from the collection below:

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