The Anglo French understanding has rarely looked more cordial in fashion than in the Sunday, Jan. 23, menswear runway show of Yves Saint Laurent, the freshest and most elegant collection seen in Europe this season.
“Yves Saint Laurent silhouette; Pierre Berge French taste,” said YSL’s creative director Stefano Pilati, referring to Saint Laurent’s long-time partner, a dapper Frenchman who had his own suits made for him in London by tailor Anderson & Sheppard.
Staged in a gilded Grand Empire drawing room, and illuminated with faint afternoon winter light, the show opened with a series of rather Edwardian looks, including elongated jackets with velvet collars and shirts with micro rounded collars.
The collection was also quintessentially French in its lean cuts, beautifully made jackets and aloof refinement. Coats and jackets all featured inventive four-inch darts across the shoulder that seemed to mould the garment onto the models. Halfway through the show, Pilati altered direction with a half dozen A-line style coats with super wide sleeves that had great theatrical charm. Reminiscent of a gentleman man of letters, one mega lapel coat meets cloak looked incredibly smart, as did a pony skin trench finished at the bottom in black-dyed Argentine fox.
Though a highly knowledgeable fashion insider, Pilati also has a great visual sense of humor seen in the camouflage rubber soles of many shoes, and the leopard pattern of their undersoles. Other sure fired accessory hits included sleek pony skin boots, and a final trio of models each wearing four rings spread over their four fingers, collectively spelling out the name YVES. Also, the heeled loafers and boots were a knockout.
“I wanted hidden beauty,” said Pilati, himself dressed in an elongated jacket, though with only two high buttons.
What made this collection so great was the sense of a designer respecting the signature style of a brand, while still managing to create a collection that could only have been shown in 2011.