The Golden Age of Grotesque

The Return of Originality in Haute Couture

One wouldn’t normally think that the words “Marilyn Manson” and “haute couture” belong in the same sentence, yet the creative director of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane, has taken the fashion world by surprise in choosing Manson as the face of his 2013 Fall/Winter Men’s collection. This unconventional choice by Mr. Slimane has shocked many industry professionals, who have been more accustomed to seeing haute couture brands fronted by the Photoshop-perfect models and actresses of the moment, rather than the likes of this highly controversial and occasionally obscene industrial metal artist.

Marilyn Manson for Saint Laurent.

Marilyn Manson for Saint Laurent.

This Yves Saint Laurent campaign is a refreshing departure from the lackluster, “business as usual” high fashion operations of late. It seems as though for the past decade, mainstream fashion has embraced the dreadfully boring ideals of artificial, “perfect”, Photoshopped-to-death beauty as a muse, and many of the forgettable designs they have produced echo this. I cannot suffer through one more runway show where a gamut of snow white, expressionless waifs sweep down the runway on their toothpick legs with their scrawny necks seemingly unable to support their proportionally large, lollipop heads. There is a medical syndrome known as Line Hypnosis, a mental disorder often associated with working in meat processing plants, where workers spend all day watching a never ending line of identical carcasses until it eventually causes a type of temporary insanity. This is what I feel fashion has become.

Spot the difference.

Spot the difference.

It is no surprise that the fashion house to break free from this plague of monotony would be Yves Saint Laurent. After all, it was Mr. Laurent himself who had the honor of being the first designer ever to use black models in his catwalk shows. The brand has never been shy of straying from the norm, and it will take haute couture leaders such as Saint Laurent to be the catalyst of change for mainstream fashion to follow suit and adopt. It is time high fashion returned to its macabre and inventive roots, and shed this shell of “catalogue beauty”. The selection of Marilyn Manson for this campaign is sure to set an exciting new trend in haute couture, and has made the sixteen-year-old goth girl inside of me ecstatic.

Heather Shetrawski, writer, stylist, scientist on assignment for Fashion & Video Games .

Posted on June 17, 2013 .