Slimane: back with a vengeance

At the Paris Tennis Club to see the Hedi Slimane catwalk. This unpretentious designer has produced yet another beautiful collection: black is back, and gone are the hideous colours introduced for the 2005-2006 collection, which I didn’t like one bit. The models were wearing much shorter hair, slicked back with quite a bit of gel. The overall style was rather romantic in a Beau-Brummel sort of way.

The technical side had been perfectly crafted by Thierry Dreyfus: the show started off in total darkness, to the point that one had to grope about to find one’s seat. When light came, it as pretty subdued. The show ended with a concert, played by three of the models on a violin, alto and cello.

Tons of people then thronged Hedi’s little backstage den to congratulate him. I told him i was glad of the possibility, now open to me, to wear a Slimane morning coat to Ascot: some of those he had on display were actually wearable, though I did not expect to betray my tailor even for him. There were plenty of cummerbunds too, one of which, curiously, was larger than the dinner jacket with which it was worn. Some of the trousers were so wide you would have mistaken them for skirts. Ties, on the other hand, were narrower, which I liked. I even caught a glimpse of breeches and silk stockings that would have delighted my grandmother: almost a resurrection of the Court dress that her generation was the last to wear.

Those fantastic but unwearable pieces apart, I did spot a few items I liked: a pretty double-breasted coat, worn over drainpipe grey trousers; an evening coat with white lapels that could have fitted in quite happily at a Bullingdon dinner; a few sets of patent-leather shoes; a grey trench coat.

The cut of Slimane’s suits has reverted to a tighter fit and a more classical style after the 2005-2006 disaster, with drainpipe trousers and quite splendid jackets, several of which I’d love to add to my wardrobe.

All told, those who were concerned that Slimane, who was rumoured to have spent more time listening to rock music or taking photographs than designing clothes recently, had lost his bearings, will be reassured.