Stefano Pilati is not a devil-may-care designer. Rather, his work is extremely cerebral, at times even ponderous. This makes any foray into Yves Saint Laurent’s rich-peasantry motif risky, yet that’s one place Pilati went for spring.
It made for an interesting and often strong journey. Rather than succumb to the genre’s frivolity, Pilati chose to control it, creating a tension both compelling and odd. A floor-length wrap dress with tailored notched lapels had a big, counterintuitive hem flounce; vests got precision-pleated pinwheel borders. Only rarely did Pilati embellish with color, choosing a perky strawberry motif. Here, a tiny print dress looked young and feisty, while giant appliqués did nothing to de-frump a long, clunky skirt. Conversely, leather lederhosen will thrill — and look amazing on — the editorial and young party girl sets, but have little viability beyond those circles.
Not so Pilati’s other offerings. His dresses were as varied as an aggressive leather halter and a conservative chic blue periwinkle number with a whiff of the Eighties; sportswear ranged from decorative collared riffs on Flemish portraiture to a jaunty double-faced shorts suit with a sleeveless jacket and a gray cutaway vest over matching trousers. If such diversity made the lineup a bit discordant, it ensures that, come spring, Pilati’s Saint Laurent woman will find plenty to suit her.