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PARIS, March 6, 2006 - The House of Saint Laurent has its troubles. Parent company, the Gucci Group, has been pouring money into the earnings-challenged label, even as reviews of Stefano Pilati’s work have helped nothing.

So you would expect that a lot might be riding on Thursday evening’s show, staged under a pink screen set up at the Centre Pompidou. Pilati chose the “power woman”, in essence returning to the theme that catapulted Yves Saint Laurent to glory in the late 60s, a time when feminism was on the rise, and when women were seizing the reigns of the corporate world. Talk about strange timing. With a neo-conservative “Leave it to Beaver” mentality sweeping through most circles, it’s safe to say that then is not now.

It’s also safe to say that Pilati has to face the same problem that plagued his predecessor, Tom Ford. How do you lift the mantle off a living legend and convey some new and fresh notion of what the House of Saint Laurent is about today? That question remained unanswered in the assortment of fussy looking muffs and bows, 60s retro- trenches, and a Catherine Deneuve era cape strung of pink roses. Deneuve incidentally showed up with Pierre Bergé, Cofounder of the House of Yves Saint Laurent, at Lanvin on Sunday to shower accolades upon Alber Elbaz (former artistic director YSL Rive Gauche Line). Charming though many of the pieces presented on Thursday were, the reviews were again uneven.

Whatever Pilati is going to do with Saint Laurent, he needs to do it. Time is running out. .


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