French actor Pascal Greggory, the butch and bearded
poster boy of Yves Saint Laurent's current ad
campaign, was in the front row, but it was the music
that was the key to Stefano Pilati's latest
collection. Little-heard versions of Boys Keep Swinging (by
Billy Mackenzie) and Hey Joe (by Marc Almond)
set an off-kilter, slightly campy tone. The clothes
proceeded to elaborate on this, though in the end,
Pilati arguably didn't push things as far as he might
One of the ideas the designer had in mind was an elegant house party in the Highlands in the 1930s. Imagine a dressy crowd of dandies dealing with a notion as outré as the great outdoors. In their windowpane checks, tweeds, and flannels, they were the essence of sophistication (the broad shoulders and peaked lapels of the jackets, and the cuffed, slightly cropped trousers underlining the thirties edge). Outerwear, meanwhile, ran a surprisingly sensible gamut: waterproof poncho, belted nylon jacket, leather blouson with sheepskin collar.
Anyone looking for the rich seam of eccentricity that illuminated Pilati's last outing had to dig deep. There were hints of it in an astrakhan duffel, an alpaca-collared coat in ostrich, a cape lined in lilac satin, and most notably in the large pin that held a jacket tightly around the waist. This touch of quirky make-do elegance felt truest to Pilati himself, and that was the element that was most elusive in this collection. Ultimately, the designer can only make Saint Laurent his own when it tells his story.