Paris Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2012 Show Report: YSL

04 October 2011

Ladies, it’s all about a peplum and a 35mm heel next summer. Don’t panic Tribute fans! YSL also had some lofty platforms. But it was that low heeled, flat soled, ankle strapped shoe, worn with cigarette pants or slim skirts with kicky hems that was the head turner here.

This was a collection for ladies who sit ramrod straight and only ever cross their legs at the ankle. It was so perfectly well behaved, you might think there was something kinky going on. The gold chignon clamps and shiny gold plates on the shoes were the only things that hinted at it. But then a hint is often so much more powerful than a headline.

The colour palette was scrumptious: dark loden greens and fuschia pinks, dusty violet and rich navy blues, steely greys, kingfisher blues and ruby reds. The styling followed precise ladylike codes: a slim skirt and cap sleeved top (the only hint of exuberance in that kicky hem); a knee length A line loden coat; a neat little skirt suit with boxy jacket and scarf wrap blouse.

It was when the jackets got dropped that the collection eased up and we realized those scarf wrap tops were backless that the whole thing became, if not exactly laid back then at least a little more languid. Then swishy printed silk maxi skirts with perfect white shirts, sleeves rolled to the elbow, set a new pace and the evening section got positively exuberant by comparison. Skinny black pants with a fuschia peplum top, a cobalt A line cocktail dress and a halter necked jumpsuit turned Stefano Pilati’s well mannered paragon into a party girl. The sheer black evening dresses with their scattering of gold embroideries like stardust at the hem were seductively grand.

I can’t think of another designer who has been dogged by as many rumours of replacement as Stefano Pilati. Only last week in Milan it was Jil Sander’s Raf Simmons who was allegedly up for his job. How anyone is expected to steer a fashion monolith like YSL into a new age and find a new customer with such insecurity is a titanic ask. The designer at YSL surely deserves better.

- Paula Reed in Paris


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