Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Past is Prologue

So the shows are over, the Spring/Summer 2009 collections have all sashayed down the runway, and I'm slowly but surely making my way through all the coverage. Of course, there are certain designers I head to first, and one of them is myboyfriendStefanoPilati at Yves Saint Laurent.


Mmm, sexay. I'm liking the blond highlights.

YSL, I have said many times, is one of the quintessential French houses. Parisian chic is the lifeblood of YSL.


This is the sort of thing you go to YSL for -- that French thang. This is a simple blouse & skirt, but it's so much more than that. For starters, it's not actually a skirt -- they're very loose-fitting cropped pants. Pilati has been working this dropped-crotch, baggy trousers thing for the last couple of seasons, refining it and re-working it. A lot of folks are complaining, but these don't look so scary, now, do they?

Here's a close-up of that blouse


How gorgeous is that fabric? Sheer but not trashily so, and I really love that subtle pattern. There was a very strong Asian theme in this collection, played out in the fabrics and some of the obi-like waist treatments and kimono-influenced closures. This gridwork belt also gets a big thumbs-up from me, I think it's gorgeous.

Pretty dress:


Even prettier from the back:


If you don't love this, you have no heart. Or have never fantasized about being Audrey Hepburn. Either way, you're no friend of mine.

Even in the midst of his customary dangerously sharp tailoring Pilati has been tossing in at least a few dresses every collection like this next one -- something unstructured yet incredibly chic, like a killer sac dress. (I speak from experience here, being the owner of one of said killer chic sac dresses.)


This isn't a sac, obviously, but it looks as though it's knit and potentially closure-less. Toss it on, buckle on a pair of great shoes (like these -- about which more in a moment) and you are ready to go. Trust me when I tell you that every woman needs a dress like this in her rotation.

Here's what I feel is the misstep in this collection


I'm going to say no to the bare midriff. I would not, however, say no to that jacket. Gorgeous, and so dramatic, yet useful. You could wear it over a beautiful simple dress, or with a blouse and slacks to create a really amazing riff on the tux.

This right here is the thing in the collection that sends me the furthest & fastest over the edge


Ohhhhhhhh, my goodness, that is wonderful. This is the thing (along with the shoes) that is going to show up in every fashion magazine around the world in the next few months -- the editors and stylists are going to lose their minds for this, and with good reason. I mean, just look at this thing:


I think it must be patent leather. I'm always a fan of using familiar materials in unexpected ways, and that is just devastating. There's been a lot of playing with lacy-ness and transparency lately (thanks in large part, I think, to Miuccia Prada's unbelievable lace collection last season) and I think this is one of the most interesting takes on that so far.

I adore the shape of this skirt


although I know most folks will not. There will be lots of complaint about emphasizing things that don't need to be emphasized, but I don't buy it. I think even if a pear-shaped woman wore this skirt, it would still look great because the shape is so obviously the skirt, and not the woman. And it's just interesting and new and... well, cool. That's the bottom line, I guess, I just think it's really cool.

Mmmmm, sparkly...


This color destroys me. Almost as much as this color destroys me --


Redhead does love a jewel tone, and redhead does love a sequin, and redhead does love a simple, perfectly cut dress, especially when it comes with pockets. (The above-mentioned sac dress has pockets, and I had reason this weekend to be deeply grateful for them, and I will tell you that story in the next couple of days.) At any rate, this dress pretty well lines up to be the sort of thing I dream of wearing. And that is one of my favorite colors to wear, which makes me even more excited about this collection. YSL under Pilati tends to be a symphony of black, gray, beige, navy and other less-than-thrilling (to me) neutrals, but there are usually a few pops of color on the runway that get expanded once the collection goes to retail; and so I'm hopeful that once these clothes actually hit the stores there will be some pieces available either in that gorgeous bottle green or that extremely-flattering-to-Style-Spy wine red.

One of the most famous garments designed by Yves Saint Laurent himself was the safari jacket -- la Saharienne.


On Veruschka, no less. Mrrooowwrrrrr...

Introduced in 1968, the safari was groundbreaking at the time and has since become iconic. It's one of the looks most identified with YSL, although it's been borrowed, re-worked, copied, imitated, plagiarized by a squillion others and at this time is so much a part of the fashion lexicon that it almost doesn't matter who came up with it. (Except that it does. And it was Yves.) Here's Pilati's most recent take on it:



Dang. That's pretty yummy. I'm crazy about the echoing of the lacing on the original; but beyond the fabulousness of this garment itself, it led me to a very interesting discovery. I went to the website for the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent to look up the date of birth for the safari jacket and came across a timeline of sorts that summarized and gave photos of all the collections that Saint Laurent designed. The Spring/Summer 1968 Collection, which introduced the safari jacket, also contained the following: "the tunic and shorts... the shorts jumpsuit... the shorts smoking... the transparent blouse... the sequinned shorts jumpsuit..." The following collection, Fall/Winter 1968, is called "The Jumpsuits and Transparent Garments Collection." Remember those terms when you look at this collection, and when you cast your mind back to the last runway show from YSL (which I adored) that happened to feature this


What all this means is that, even more than I had realized, Pilati is doing his research and cleverly and beautifully putting his own flesh on the bones of the Maestro's work. There are several belts & lacings from 1968 that are echoed in this modern collection, and there is even an outfit featuring a bare midriff. Go check it out, it's pretty cool. I love finding this out, I love that I didn't even realize how much Pilati was drawing on the archives because the work he's turning out is so modern, so interesting, so directional in & of itself. Damn, he's good.

But enough of the fashion geek stuff -- let's talk footwear.


Good googly-moogly. These are going to be HUGE. Seriously, you are not going to be able to open a fashion magazine or a style section of a newspaper for months without seeing these pretty soon.

Look at the heels! she squealed in childish delight.



So fabulous. If the full-on grid bootie is a bit much for you, there are several delicious variations on the theme.





Only the most churlish Shoe Scrooge could begrudge the fabulousness of the above shoe. These are going to sell like the proverbial hotcakes.

I loved this collection. I think it appealed to me a bit more intellectually than viscerally, but I did really love it. (As opposed to Fall 2008, which completely took my breath away and made me have to stop to think about why I loved it.) There are some very, very desirable pieces to be had here, and not just because they're nifty or new, but because they're the kind of things you add to your wardrobe and find both useful and thrilling for years to come.

I hope everyone can forgive me for being AWOL for so long. I do apologize but September. Was. Nuts. There was work and out-of-town visitors and intensive planning for a dear friend's wedding. But I'm back now, and here's hoping you haven't abandoned me in the meantime. Let me hear from you so that I know someone is paying attention!

Photos: Style.com, Fondation-pb-ysl.net

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MRS. G. said...

I've been checking every few days and was beginning to give up hope of getting my fix of the gorgeous pictures you show us... so glad you are back and ditto to all you have said about the collection. Those shoes! I think I have to go lay down now.

madame suggia said...

You're baaaaaaack! and you are not alone, thank goodness...Isn't it nice that all us fashion-obsessives can get together online and d-r-o-o-l over this stuff...the fabrics! the silhouettes! the shoes! (oh, the shoes...), the bags! the jewellry!)Love the YSL looks, M. Pilati certainly seems to be channeling the spirit of the Master...but my heart still belongs to thegeniusthatisdriesvannoten.

Anonymous said...

I'm here, I'm here! What a great collection (and what a great analysis, of course). I so wasn't sure about those shoes at first, until you showed us the heel and now i'm a goner. The pic of the silver bootie under the trousers? I really, really wish that was my foot in there. Excuse me while i drool a bit.

r sorrell said...

You know what caught my eye? The grid belt. More so than the grid boots. (Those heels are amazing, though.)
It's a lovely collection, overall.

StyleSpy said...

::fans Mrs. g:: So flattered that you missed me!

Madame S: Dries is no slouch, that's for sure. Hope to do a post on his show soon, too.

Caro -- the heels, the heels! Aaaiieeee!!!

r- I am going to be on the hunt for a more budget-friendly version of that belt. I'll let you know if I find one.

LeeLee said...

So glad you're back! I had begun to worry that a Lance Armstrong wannabe in spandex and a day-glo helmet had run you off the curvy roads by Neiman's.

Tellicherry said...

You're back! You're back!

You are dead on about those shoes. I want them so bad I can feel them on my feet.