Baggy, paint-spattered shorts? Droopy, drop-shouldered sweaters? A patched, worn sweatshirt? Stefano Pilati's latest collection seemed designed to inflame those who feel the name of Yves Saint Laurent should stand for the precise, peak-shouldered perfection of the trad French gent. Pilati wasn't having it. Lately, he's been enjoying himself playing in the art world, and it was "a liberated artistic mind" he intended his new designs for. After the show, he said that the paint that spattered clothes and shoes represented "the complete spontaneity that is sometimes missing from fashion."

But even liberated minds don't necessarily want to look like Jack the Dripper. And for them, Pilati expanded on the experiment in volume he started with his fall collection. Jackets still had the bigger, softer shoulder, but they were cut shorter, which emphasized their boxiness, even giving them a slightly feminine swing (such ambiguity is emerging as a Pilati signature). In the same spirit, the designer offered a gray twinset with those paint-covered shorts, and a three-quarter-sleeve sweater over a white shirt. (And remember that back-buttoning tunic he proposed last season?) Another signature is a louche exoticism, seen here in pieces patchworked out of traditional Japanese fabrics, or a glazed-linen drawstring coat, or striped pajama pants, just like the ones Pilati himself wore during the eighties. The designer's own dandyism was also evident in shawl-collared jackets, which brought a touch of the evening to daywear, and a jacquard-look jacket that had actually been painstakingly hand-embroidered.