PARIS – Fashion royalty Salma Hayek — the Academy Award-nominated wife of the luxury heir François-Henri Pinault — led the front row pack at Saint Laurent, the highlight of the Paris menswear shows on Sunday.
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Joining her were actor Will Peltz and, nearby, Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, who nursed her jetlag in shades, having just arrived in the French capital.
The Saint Laurent collection — the final show on the final day of menswear — posed a serious question: Has controversial designer Hedi Slimane, who everyone loves to hate and hates to love, finally been vindicated?
Here are the highlights of Sunday's fall-winter menswear 2015 shows, including show reports from Paul Smith, Lanvin and Saint Laurent.
SLIMANE FINALLY VINDICATED?
The fashion press is a tough bunch. Saint Laurent's Hedi Slimane has been criticized, chewed up and thrown out a hundred times.
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The Franco-Tunisian designer courted controversy first in 2012 amid accusations he threw out the precious YSL heritage in his debut collection for the revered Parisian house by going punk and dropping "Yves" from the house name.
Yet the styles that fashion critics, including this one, lambasted him for — glam rock, grungy, punk, teddy boy, and uber-skinny styles — are now ubiquitous on the catwalk. As they are on the street. The house is apparently financially buoyant.
This fall-winter season, it's common to hear the phrase: "That's quite Hedi Slimane."
To quote Liberace, the once-wronged 46-year-old is now probably laughing all the way to the bank.
SAINT LAURENT'S BACK TO BLACK WITH A FRENCH TWIST
If the mantra "thin is in" applied to previous Saint Laurent shows, this new collection might be called "thinner is inner."
Extra-uber-skinny retro pants stood out in a collection that featured starved-looking women as well as men.
Slimane carried on his '70s musing in suits with peaked lapels, winklepicker shoes, glam-rock fur "fun" coats and punk rock leopard-print sweaters with skinny black jeans that might have been worn by Sex Pistols star John Lydon.
Nothing in this collection seemed particularly different from previous seasons. That is, apart from the occasional beret.
But Slimane clearly has an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. And who can blame him?
LANVIN HAS A NOSE FOR FASHION TRENDS
At his Lanvin show, in the arty Left Bank's Ecole des Beaux Arts, Alber Elbaz crowned one of the newest catwalk trends: Prince of Wales check.
It's been on high rotation this fall-winter season, and its inclusion here proves that the famed Israeli designer has a nose for fashion's vacillations.
The 53-year-old veteran, who designs menswear alongside Lucas Ossendrijver, served up the gray pattern on oversize car coats and, elsewhere, on loose double-breasted jackets. He even experimented with it on a series of layered-suit looks with an outlandish silhouette: a coat on top of a coat.
Blue, burgundy and maroon joined the checkered musing — the must-have colors for any committed follower of fashion this fall.
The pants were high-waisted, in the fashion of the late '70s, and coats and long jackets had large proportions in lapels.
PAUL SMITH'S DEJA VU
The broad double-breasted suit silhouette, with its exaggerated shoulders and peaked lapels, was the terrain of silver screen icon Cary Grant in the 1950s.
It cropped up again on the New Romantics in the 1980s. And now it's back again, ruling the catwalk.
(Everyone knows that fashion, like history, is cyclical.)
Paul Smith's lovely collection showcased suit jackets that were fit for a modern-day Film Noir movie, the square shoulders giving the young models an authoritative gait in the old-school masculine, debonair style.
Then came Mick Jagger — or, at least, what the Rolling Stones frontman might have worn in his heyday: gargantuan multicolor fur coats.
It was one of the best looks seen on the catwalk all season.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP