YSL sticks to the old-school

10 March 2009

It all looked good from the very start. A gritty grey concrete gallery space with blood-red carpet hangings on the walls. Laid back lounge jazz of Alice Coltrane playing in the background. Then the Yves Saint Laurent A/W '09 show started. The first section was all leather. Zipped, flared jacket (think Boulevard biker)....fab. Leather corseted swimsuit/body....hmmm. Leather dungarees....whoops. But after an initial wobble it all came good with a section of grey flannel. Part of the problem is that there are huge expectations at these Paris shows. Boutique buyers are desperately looking for stuff that will sell. There's a collective nervousness around that is infecting every fashion moment with a tinge of fear. Yet whilst showing clothes that you really, really just want to wear right off the runway may not sound like a mind bending concept, in Paris this season there has often been a quantum leap of logic from catwalk to closet. Not here. The YSL colour formula was the tried, tested and often relied upon grey, white and black. The shapes were curvaceously tailored: form flattering and feminine. And the entire look was based on a simple Saint Laurent mantra: take the simple basics of a man's wardrobe and make them work for a woman. So there were crisp cotton shirts over fluid pleated pegs, tux coat dresses with a flirtatious kick in the hem, pinstriped flannel skirt suits with strong shoulders and softly curving sleeves and deliciously sexy wrap double jersey dresses worn over thick grey ribbed tights. For the first time in ages I actually saw tears in the eyes of the front row.


The leather biker zipped curvy jacket

The soft peg trousers

The crisp cotton shirt with huge puffed sleeves

The grey cloak with subtle military detailing

The pinstriped skirt suit

- Paula Reed

Get the lowdown on every key show from Paris Fashion Week: sophisticated glamour at Valli, eco-chic at Stella McCartney, Pammy at Vivienne Westwood, ladies at Lanvin, decadence at Dior, super-fierce ladies at Givenchy, love at Loewe, taking the mickey at Jeremy Scott, clouds at Margiela, extreme silhouettes at Gareth Pugh, eighties inspiration at Balenciaga sheer elegance at Rochas, Balmainia at Balmain, snow queens at Rick Owens and shoe shockers at Nina Ricci. Plus don't forget to check back here for the latest reports!


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