If the proof is in the pudding, then the pudding is being served.
There was no Critical Shopper column in yesterday's Thursday Styles, but Eric Wilson made his way around town looking for the first deliveries of Hedi Slimane's newly re-conceived Saint Laurent prêt-à-porter collection for the Times' On the Runway blog. What did he find? a $1000 men's hoodie and a smattering of hyper-expensive women's clothes at Barneys, but the best representation is naturally at the newly redubbed Saint Laurent boutique on East 57th Street which, in a symbolic, but somewhat belated update, finally shed the long defunct "Rive Gauche" logo from its storefront in favor of Slimane's new logo. There, shoppers will be offered an array of new bags with discreet embossed logos and some women's accessories. Wilson had little to say about any of the women's pre-collection that may have been delivered. The much commented upon runway collection will arrive in mid-March, which is ridiculously late by modern designer retail standards. In fact, pre-collections should have been arriving in November, but we are pretty certain that Slimane did not want his line to mingle with predecessor Stefano Pliati's final YSL efforts in any way, and he is hoping that customers will be eager to get their hands on his new line no matter when it arrives in stores. That may be something of an ambitious hope even for such a celebrated but relatively untested women's designer. Women, and men, will buy when they feel like buying, and if your line isn't ready in time, it's your loss. Ask any designer who has suffered through a late delivering season. Anyway, for women there are new shoes and a few signature "Smoking" looks, and for men, more new apparel that recalls the designer's previous stint at Dior Homme. Wilson notes that with the Dior Homme boutique only a few doors away, the similarities don't necessarily reflect well on Slimane, but he may have evolved his aesthetic just a bit, "...a classic navy suit for men ($2,195), beautifully made, was not tailored quite as aggressively as it might once have been at Dior," he writes. Perhaps, then, there's hope for his menswear fans who don't want to have to skip dinner to fit into the new Saint Laurent?