Paris Fashion Week: At YSL, comfort is the overall winner
Reporting from Paris -- In the end, the return of the Yves Saint Laurent menswear collection to the Paris runway was more a matter of calendar timing than anything else; instead of being held the Wednesday night before the official men's Paris Fashion Week kicks off, it took place in a Friday noon time slot.
Other than that, it unspooled no differently than most recent seasons; it was still held in the same Rue D'Artois showroom and was once again preceded by a short film that, while entertaining, has little to do directly with the collection that follows.
This season the film, titled "Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing," was by Bruce Weber, and since it includes some small bits of full frontal nudity, I'll skip embedding it here (for anyone interested, it can be found easily enough at YSL's home page or via YouTube).
And maybe it was just the symbolic decision of creative director Stefano Pilati to rejoin the fashion week calendar playing tricks on me, but it seemed like the designer's found himself a comfortable groove; eschewing the focus on detail that has made taking a closer post-show look at the clothes necessary to fully appreciate, to turning out a simple, straightforward collection that looks good from afar.
Like many of the collections shown during the Fall/Winter 2010-11 men's shows in Milan and Paris over the last two weeks, it was full-frontally focused, with double breasted jackets and overcoats, trench coats that belted tightly at the waist (some with fringed scarves), and others held together with what looked like kilt pins. A shearling jacket was cut with wooly lamb-size lapels so expansive they nearly eclipsed the shoulders of the model wearing it.
But the most eye-catching silhouettes of the show were two pair of what can only be described as suiting fabric overalls with U-shaped bibs (which made them look kind of like the snowsuit I used to wear as a kid). Pilati is far from the first designer to give overalls the luxe treatment (Neil Barrett's James Bond ski tuxedo from a few seasons ago comes to mind), but his take on it -- especially the version in a brown Prince of Wales check that looked like it draped as comfortably as a pair of favorite pajamas -- was the first time such a curiosity actually looked remotely wearable.
In fact, the Fall/Winter 2010 collection from Yves Saint Laurent ranks among the most comfortable and wearable I've seen from the label -- overall.
-- Adam Tschorn