Lightened up but still dressed up with a decidedly retro feel: That was the mood of the Yves Saint Laurent collection Stefano Pilati showed on Thursday night, one that at its best offered a polished alternative to the season’s futuristic bent.
Pilati said he wanted to chart the emotional journey from spring through summer, yet he made the road tough to negotiate. His runway was an endless, tightly packed flower bed ankle-deep in violets — just the terrain for his sky-high, double-platform shoes. Some in the audience were fixated on the models’ quivering ankles while rooting for the poor girls to pass by without taking a spill.
That distraction aside, there was much to see. Pilati opened with a graphic pastiche that ranged from tiny ginghams to huge buffalo checks. These bore more than a hint of the Eighties power woman, even without the big, side-swept coiffures: a snappy dress under a red flyaway jacket and a bold coat over skinny pants.
This focused working-woman mood then gave way to a jumble of ideas: gentle dresses with floral finishes; a dizzying psychedelic camouflage moment; a frothy gown with random posies trapped between its diaphanous, milky layers, and in a nod to you-know-who, a couple of quick smoking sightings.
Then there were the season’s requisite tricky pants, here of the droopy-drawer genie variety, of which Pilati showed more than his share.
A bit eclectic, for sure. And at times, the collection rang retro to a fault. But it still displayed a savvy evolution with clothes that should resonate beautifully at retail.
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?"