Simons vs. Slimane? Clash of the Titans? That has been THE topic animating Paris Fashion Week as the two designers make their prêt à porter debuts at Dior and Saint Laurent respectively. The various accounts of their alleged rivalry are summed up here.
I suppose the idea of an epic fashion rivalry like the one that raged for years between Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld and documented in Alicia Drake's "The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris" has a certain appeal for the fashion pack. It provides a titillating narrative beyond the usual runway descriptions. In an era of Web streaming and virtually instantaneous uploads of runway shots, it gives a lot of people something to write about and a lot more people something to read about.
It also feeds into the longstanding rivalry between LVMH (which owns Dior) and PPR (which owns Saint Laurent). The two last faced off by proxy over the House of Gucci with PPR ultimately walking away with the prize after a bruising court battle. Bernard Arnault and Francois-Henri Pinault are said to have since buried the hatchet although few would put much stock in that story. Could Simons vs. Slimane be round two?
Personally, I think Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane should make a point of showing up at each other's shows, applauding wildly and gushing about each other's collections in the press. They could also set up a regular "boys' night out" with the likes of Alber Elbaz and Jean Paul Gauthier during which they could commiserate about the trials and tribulations of the industry over copious amounts of red wine. A sort of cliché-busting fashion fraternity. That strikes me as an infinitely more interesting narrative than yet another industry feud.
The Luxe Chronicles