PILATI'S FAREWELL TO YSL
I’ve always seen Yves Saint Laurent as Chanel and Louis Vuitton’s rebellious younger sister, simply because YSL never seems to be in the spotlight quite as much.
While I admire YSL designer creative director Stefano Pilati for consistently creating something more wearable, that’s not what Paris Fashion Week is about. YSL remains one of my favourite fashion houses due to a certain wearability and timelessness, however I thought that after the announcement of Pilati’s departure from the brand, after being at its helm since 2004, would trigger a wilder Fall/Winter collection. I’ve found many designers create their best work through a change in direction; take Jean Paul Gaultier’s SS 2011 show for Hermes, (complete with horses, for god’s sake, HORSES), or John Galliano’s abrupt departure from the house of Christian Dior circa AW 11 following shock allegations of anti-Semitic abuse in a Parisian cafe. Neither of these designers had a thing to lose.
With that in mind, why is Pilati presenting us with something we’ve seen before? I’m pinning it to the whole “work out what you’re good at and stick to it” mindset (it may well be the “I’m running out of ideas” mindset, but I’m willing to give the Yves Saint Laurent team the benefit of the doubt here).
Despite my whinging, this collection was actually very beautiful. Black was the dominate color for autumn with sleek, body conscious shapes cinched at the waist and made of mostly leather. Metal accents and mesh knits also played a part in the strong yet sensual display.
Opening with Elza Luijendijk in a conservative black trench with cinched in waist was a wise but fairly standard choice, setting up expectations of a simple business-wear-esque collection and allowing the rest of the show to pleasantly surprise me. Leather, leather and more leather was followed by a feminine floral pantsuit with an outrageously chic fur shoulder, modeled by Sojourner Morrell. The mood really changed as Carla Gebhart oozed down the runway in a high necked entirely metallic midi. This was the slinky, mermaid aesthetic that I’d been waiting for.
The rest of the collection was a lot sexier but still very wearable. The deep, plunging necklines (shown first on Lina Zhang, then a stream of models to follow) was a collection highlight, but I couldn’t help being reminded of the updated 40s silhouettes with fetish undertones showcased on the big boss Kate Moss in Louis Vuitton’s AW 11 show. But whatever, it was still hot.
It seems only fitting that the final collection from Pilati would be straightforward and to the point with plunging necklines and sculpted shoulders defining the YSL woman for autumn. Regardless of what the future brings, Pilati’s shaping of Yves Saint Laurent cannot be denied and the autumn collection proves precisely that.
[images courtesy of fashiongonerogue]