paris autumn winter 07 08

Saint Laurent in the Dark
by Timothy Hagy | photographed by Yannis Vlamos

March 1, 2007 - Winter of 2008 is likely to be long and dark, if the collection Stefano Pilati showed for Yves Saint Laurent on Thursday evening in the Pompidou Center is any indication. About the only color to be found on the runway was in a sable vest, or the snappy crocodile combination tinted a dark teal. Otherwise steel gray and midnight black were de rigeur.

The evening pieces leaned heavily on masculine tailoring, alluding one assumes, to Saint Laurent's archives. That was a big deal in 1966 when Saint Laurent began to play with masculine and feminine ambiguity, though hardly so now. The same could be said for the large bow that wrapped the final silvery evening dress embroidered in a reptilian pattern—that idea was floated in 1959 by Yves Saint Laurent for Dior.

Pilati has been placed in the unenviable position of trying to find a way to remake an iconic label. The owners of the name, the Gucci Group, are more interested in exploring the profitability of the logo than in preserving archival sketches. Fashion critics want to see the tradition of the House modernized and transformed into something inspirational. Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent want their legacy sealed (or so it would seem since Bergé went to court to stop a documentary made of the final years of Saint Laurent couture from being shown in France).

That's a situation that leaves Pilati with few options, none of them good. I suppose, he more than anyone, would love to find a burst of light.


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