Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012 Review


Photo: Imaxtree

Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012

SHOW: Yves Saint Laurent (See the full collection.)

HAIR: Guido Palau

MAKE-UP: Pat McGrath

ACCESSORIES: Wide leather belts, metallic-heeled ankle boots and shoes in black leather, silver Calla lily chokers and bangles

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: A rousing farewell from Stefano Pilati to the house that Yves built

Any designer's final show for a label feels like a case of "And here's what they could have won." That was certainly the case with Stefano Pilati, who pulled out all the stops to produce a collection that ranks amongst his best for the house of Yves Saint Laurent.

Of course, that's entirely personal: Pilati's collections have always divided opinions, both at critical and—critically—commercial level. Some in attendance couldn't stand the forceful jut of Pilati's shoulders, the enormous jacquards and embroideries depicting Calla lilies, with all their insinuations of sex and death. Those weren't a central feature of this show, but they did bubble under the surface throughout. As did Saint Laurent history: after all, those wide shoulders were symbolic of YSL, the line he built his jackets on in the '70s. They were the root of his much-lambasted '40s collection of 1971, which had a seismic influence upon fashion. The critics despised that show too, causing YSL himself to quit showing couture for a few seasons and lick his wounds until the furor died down.

This wasn't a change-the-game moment like that, but this finale Fall collection did recapture some of the hallmarks that have marked his tenure at the house of Yves Saint Laurent. The off, odd proportions, the innovative materials (in this case rubber and metallic chainmail) and an irreverent and inventive approach to YSL history. For all the flaws of his previous collections, this was a full-bodied and whole-hearted send off for Pilati.