PARIS — Given a choice, Yves Saint Laurent designer Stefano Pilati says he would much rather see plenty of women walking around in his designs than erect some enormous brand temple.
"I strongly believe in being a dynamic brand, more than dreaming about a big building in Tokyo," he said in an interview here last week. "A brand like YSL should have this role."
That's the impetus behind Pilati's newest project: a permanent, season-less and sharply priced collection of YSL essentials dubbed "Edition 24" that helps fulfill the brand's promise of not only inciting desire, but serving women with a complete wardrobe for modern life.
The 50-style line of items mostly priced to retail under 1,000 euros, or $1,360 at current exchange, is slated for delivery next month to all 61 freestanding YSL boutiques worldwide and to select wholesale accounts. These include Neiman Marcus in the U.S., Harrods and Browns in London, Colette in Paris and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
The collection, which can be assembled into 24 looks, comprises all the elements a fashionable woman might need for an overnight trip, from oversize sweaters to a chiffon dress that can be rolled into a ball and tossed into a roller suitcase — also part of the line.
"Timeless" and "versatile" were the words Pilati used repeatedly to describe the range, which includes some of the most iconic styles of the founding couturier (patent trenchcoats, safari jackets, tuxedos), plus plenty from Pliati's three-year reign at the house, part of Italy's Gucci Group. There's even an item from the Tom Ford era — silk T-shirts — among Pilati's earliest output as women's design director. (He joined YSL from Prada Group in 2000 and succeeded Ford in 2004.)
"It's not a second line," Pilati stressed, describing Edition 24 instead as a way to "address fashion in a more accessible way.…It's about building a wardrobe; finding everything you need. And it's not necessarily linked to the direction of a season. Obviously, it will appeal to a broader clientele — and younger."
YSL president and chief executive Valerie Hermann noted the collection was more accessible not only in price, but in styles that are slightly less dressy and easy to mix and match. She noted the collection pieces, in white, black and safari shades, would be merchandised together in its boutiques, albeit without special signs or labeling.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"