What does a woman seek from Yves Saint Laurent now? An essence of super French classiness, yes, but with a contemporary lack of stuffiness, and, if you can’t afford the lot, the bait of an irresistible accessory or two. Stefano Pilati must go over those parameters again and again every season as he mentally scans Saint Laurent’s intimidating and encyclopedic body of work, decides what to extract, and then figures out what stamp of his own to put on it. For spring, with the groundswell of interest in mid-twentieth-century couture in his favor, he played it un petit peu Belle du Jour with a soupçon of la Marocain hippie, rendered it down to relatively simple pieces, and then threw in big, jeweled belts and gold toe-capped shoes to ramp things up.
Opening with a trapeze coat embroidered with abstract roses, he worked on rethinking the suit and the metal-buckled pilgrim shoes that Catherine Deneuve wore in the Luis Buñuel film. Skirt suits (much in need of an overhaul generally) were transformed here into an edge-to-edge jacket in mint, with a matching pencil skirt with a flip and a mini-slit in the hem.
In spite of the relative spareness of the pieces, the fabrics—like modern and sophisticated jacquards—tackled new volumes, pushing the tendency to big-shouldered, tailored silhouettes that the likes of Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, Miuccia Prada, and Phoebe Philo at Céline are also experimenting with for spring. Whether anyone will really want to buy into that notion (it could take a couple of seasons for women to get around to an architectural shoulder-line) is a moot point, though. Far more immediately desirable were the looks in the white section, and, earlier, on the simplified printed chiffon long dresses and skirts. Finally, it was the pearl-and-crystal chain belts and the low-heeled suede sandals with gleaming toecaps that kept the eye zooming in because, even though Pilati’s essentially a minimalist, those accessories are going to be part of many a woman’s strategy for working in a spot of opulence next spring.
Photo: Marcus Tondo/GoRunway.com