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Yves Saint Laurent’s New Corporate Woman

Godfrey Deeny
March 08th, 2010 @ 6:04 PM - Paris

The house of Yves Saint Laurent took a step into a new dimension Monday, March 8, in Paris with a collection the label’s designer Stefano Pilati said was targeted at women in powerful positions.

“Corporate women, ladies in power, women in authority,” Pilati said, after a presenting a sleek yet severe fall 2010 collection before some 1,000 people in the Grand Palais of Paris.

Pilati’s color palette was nearly 80 percent in black, adding to the sense of authority of these clothes. His new lady-like decision maker favors strictly cut black wool jackets and curvaceous to the knee skirts. One model even carried a patent leather briefcase, as if en route for a business meeting.

The designer played around with the shoulders of most looks, adding miniature capes to some jackets, or plastic protection to others. He did have a brief burst of color at the evening wear finale, with crimson pink, violet and emerald, the penultimate look boasting another cape top.

Fur – mostly sable - appeared on many looks, a mini cape on over a check shirt, a striking shawl come breastplate backed by plastic and as the back trim of knobby shoes – all adding to the ruing elite felling of this collection. While elegant and frequently striking, the collection did seem a big step for YSL, as the founder was arguably more known for his seductive clothing, rather than dress for success fashion.

The designer’s other big idea was a coolly intriguing one. He found a whole series of YSL designs in 1970s magazines, cut them out and created costume gold pendants of their silhouettes.

Pilati denied any religious influence in the collection, but the chains and pendants did recall rosary beads, while the headgear seemed almost a nun’s wimple and the buttoned up tops a nun’s habit.

As ever at Pilati’s YSL, the staging was pretty flawless, from the perfectly executed rose-eyed makeup to the brilliant performance by LCD Soundsystem, who played a live set, rising to a wonderful crescendo as the models took their joint final run down the catwalk, looking poised and purposeful and about to chair a ministerial meeting, or push through a takeover bid.

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