Each season there’s one show that gets tongues wagging more than the others. Perhaps the easiest way to ensure one’s show is noticed rather than merely noted is in radical use of staging. And this season Yves Saint Laurent pushed the boat out considerably further than anyone else, entirely dispensing with both a catwalk and a string of models. Instead Creative Director Stefano Pilati chose to show YSL’s Autumn/Winter ’08 collection as a film on a three-screen LCD triptych.
The video features just one man, rising British star on the acting circuit Simon Woods, and was directed by equally nascent (and equally impressive) talents in the UK film scene, Sarah Chatfield and Chris Sweeney. This meeting of creative minds away from the traditional format of a catwalk show principally served to highlight how times are changing. And more succinctly how fashion and its presentation can fit into and capitalise on these cultural, technological and social changes afoot.
Whereby it’s customary to read a snippet of a show report the following day in a newspaper, Pilati actively sought to disseminate his collection at the click of a button, not the turn of a page. Bizarrely, it’s actually far easier to get a sense of the collection, as a whole and in detail, from the film than a catwalk show. Taking full advantage of repeat shots, slow motion and zoom, one is left with a comprehensive feel for how the collection is put together and importantly, how it wears.
And what of the collection itself? We’ve long come to expect the finest, gently retro tailoring from YSL. This time round was no different: flared and cuffed, skinny and cropped trousers were worn with sharp-shouldered or deconstructed jackets, with characteristic wide lapels. A bordeaux, dark green, navy blue and ivory palette harks back to the Seventies Saint Laurent, a feeling accentuated by flashes of print: Indian silk scarves, pocket squares together with cloud and lightning appliqués.