The many chromosomal combinations that define gender beyond the bald male-female categorization are scarcely the stuff of fashion inspiration. Until now. The fluidity of gender was precisely the starting point for Stefano Pilati's provocative new men's collection for YSL. Bottom line: He used women's fabrics to make clothes for men. Everything—coats, jackets, pants—looked familiar, but felt extraordinarily soft, sinuous, unstructured. And, to sustain the illusion, Pilati chose to present his clothes in a video treatise rather than a show. In seven short films, the actor Jack Huston was called upon to embody various facets of the collection's concept. But with his blank, wide face, he wasn't perhaps the best ambassador for Pilati's subversive intent. The style of the films themselves, with their underground echoes of Warhol, Godard, and Kenneth Anger, was more successful.

And, fortunately for Pilati, the clothes were better than either. One piece spoke volumes: a biker jacket in washed silk gazar. Brando gone Balenciaga—a good reason why Pilati is such a fascinating designer. As well as gazar, there was organza in a blouson, voile in shirts, silk in suits, and the kind of gold beading last seen in Liza Minnelli's stagewear. But everything (okay, everything except for the beads) looked entirely masculine. Until you touched it, anyway. Aside from the technical feats of construction involved in working with such light fabrics, there was also a real insight in an idea such as a tailored jacket whose cuffs closed like a shirt. It embodied the formal/casual essence of the best modern dressing.