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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Headline Trip

Rodarte is next to get the Target treatment. Their magical confections, from knee-highs to leopard print jackets, will be available in December. [WWD]

YSL is joining the social media fray, announcing official Facebook and Twitter pages. Now you can follow Stefano Pilati’s every gesture in real time, starting with the new Manifesto for fall.
[Facebook, Twitter]

Art imitates life imitating semi-sentience. Vancouver-based artist Karin Bubas captures the pathos of The Hills through weeping. We expect a solo show at the Whitney soon. [The Moment]

In more pop-up madness, Gucci is launching Gucci Icon Temporary, a series of transient stores featuring exclusive sneakers collaborations. First stop is Miami for Art Basel. [WWD]

The only thing that might top the now infamous Top Model Shorty Riots may be the open call for extras in Sex and the City 2. We're picturing lots of crushed flowers, scuffed Manolos and overly styled ensembles. [Daily Beast]

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On the Campaign Trail: Yves Saint Laurent

Stefano Pilati serves up another clash of the titans for YSL's fall 2010 campaign featuring Christy Turlington, shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Who else could follow up the veteran glamour of Claudia Schiffer, bleached and resplendent under the Hollywood sun? Looking toned and timeless (and not in a plastic kind of way), Christy's otherworldly beauty offsets the hard elegance of fall and its slightly sinister edge. You can never go wrong with leather bustiers and biker jackets—and the bags aren't half bad either. Get ready to start fawning over Christy in your fave glossies come August.

—Franklin Melendez

courtesy YSL

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Hint Tip: Yves Saint Laurent

Stefano Pilati has recruited French director, actor and writer Samuel Benchetrit to create a moody short film (pictured below) for his Yves Saint Laurent men's show on Wednesday, following a similar cinematic gesture from Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin last season, featuring Michael Pitt. This time around, the star is none other than Benchetrit's 11-year-old son, Jules. The three-fold presentation will include the fashion show, film screening and a private after-party for friends of the house...

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Q&A: Stefano Pilati

In their own selfish way, fashion victims help the world go 'round. But no one wants to see the end result of hoarding, not even the creative engine behind one of the world's great luxury brands, Yves Saint Laurent. So last night at Barneys New York, with a little encouragement from Julie Gilhart, Stefano Pilati launched New Vintage, an eco-friendly capsule collection made from unused fabrics left over from previous YSL collections, with an emphasis on wearability and affordability. Naturally all fifty limited-edition, numbered pieces sold out within minutes, including a Downtown bag in remnant khaki that Julie craftily scooped up ahead of time. But I also managed a little selfish hoarding of Stefano...

Lee Carter: Did you just fly in?
Stefano Pilati: No no no. I got here a few day ago.

Have you been working nonstop or do you take breaks to romp around the city?
I know I look tan, like I've spent the afternoon in my garden, but actually I've been working nonstop. Normally the summer is more relaxed, but this one, no way. I didn't stop one day. After this I have the cruise show, then men's, then I start to work on women's.

Always moving.
Always moving. I do eleven collections a year.

That's crazy. How do you recharge yourself after a show?
Normally I disappear.

As in, you become a shut-in?
No, I go to Hawaii or skiing in Idaho. You know, I can't really stop thinking about collections, but at least I'm not under so much pressure.

Did you go to the Tony Awards last night? I thought I saw you in the audience on TV.
No, I read about it in the papers. It's not really a part of my world, but I could see Billy Elliott a hundred times.

Let's talk about your New Vintage project with Barneys.
Julie approached me to consider how we could educate the customer about the environment and recycling.

Is this the first time you've done something like this?
Yes. Well, this is the first time I've said it so clearly. I might have considered these aspects in my collections before, but I don't always communicate it. My mission is to challenge people, not to shock or be obvious.

New Vintage feels like it comes from the heart. How do you consider the environment on a personal level? I assume you recycle at home?
Yes, this for sure. And also at work I tell my assistants not to waste too much. For me there are two environments. There is a woman's environment and how she wants to present herself to the world. And then there is the larger environment, which is total. There is nothing more important. We have to start disciplining ourselves. So I wanted to get rid of some fabrics, starting with the ones I like.

Is this the start of a brave green YSL?
I think fashion should get to a different level. But you know, it's fashion. I'm not trying to be the President of the United States.

Or Al Gore?
Or Al Gore.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bohaning Up

Christian Dior has remained one of the most enduring names in modern fashion since his first collection in 1947, in which he reversed the codes of femininity with his famous New Look. Upon his death ten years later, a gifted teenager—perhaps too gifted—took the reins: Yves Saint Laurent. A remarkable shift occurred, but Saint Laurent didn't last long before he exited in a brouhaha involving the army, a broken promise, a lawsuit and another designer by the name of Marc Bohan.

Dior's new star couturier, Bohan remained at the helm for the next 28 years before the arrival of Gianfranco Ferré and John Galliano. A new exhibit at Musée Christian Dior (that's right, he has his own museum) in Grandville, Normandy, showcases Bohan's contributions to Dior over three decades, from the classic elegance of the 1960s, through the bohemian chic of the 70s, to the baroque extravagance of the 80s—and of course his famous collaborations with photographer Dominique Issermann. Through September 20, 2009.

—Laurent Dombrowicz

photo by Dominique Issermann

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dark Star

Before Tilda there was Andrew. That's just one takeaway from spending a few hours with the absorbing early films of Derek Jarman. Before he went on to make feature-length ruminations on beauty, homoeroticism and death (Caravaggio, Blue), the experimental British filmmaker, who himself died of AIDS in 1994, broached the same heavy themes in short works shot in the grainy, washed-out warmth of Super 8 film.

The X initiative, a year-long series of quality art programming housed in the space formerly occupied by Dia:Chelsea, is screening these rare gems on three floors, offering a perfect Saturday afternoon antidote of artsy malaise to the annoying chirpiness that befalls the city in spring. Poetic, cryptic and relentlessly melancholy (classical music helps set the tone), the nearly twenty films range from the macabre pretty-boy ballet of "Death Dance" to the high-camp artifice of "Andrew Logan Kisses the Glitterati," featuring a likely Jarman lover playing dress-up with a blasé coterie of friends. In other films, the eye is sated with images of Victorian boathouses, Stonehenge-like formations, mirrors, rituals and the distorted face of Genesis P-Orridge, frontman of cult industrial band Throbbing Gristle.

There's notable fashion too. Entire sequences recall a Helmut Newton shoot, while the getups for said dress-up party seem lifted straight out of a Saint Laurent collection circa 1975. Lovers of avant-garde sadness had better hurry though; the films are on view through the end of the month only.

—Suleman Anaya

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Thursday, April 16, 2009


Despite being surrounded by luxury at his Yves Saint Laurent digs, Stefano Pilati is a people's designer, issuing manifestos in place of campaigns, launching a reclaimed fabric line and so on. Now he's gone street, partnering with Gucci Group stablemate Puma to create this high-top sneaker in black leather or gray suede. Get your grubby, populist hands on the YSL/PUMA collaboration ($595) at YSL boutiques now or through the site later this month.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thanks, YSL!

A messenger just dropped off an early Valentine's Day present, Yves Saint Laurent's latest Manifesto, the one with a USB drive (and it's heart-shaped—cute!). All of Inez and Vinoodh's images of Claudia Schiffer vamping under the Hollywood sign are neatly filed on it, but better still, a video...

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

True Hollywood Story

In case you were wondering, the dictionary defines "manifesto" as a “public declaration of intentions, goals or motives, such as issued by a government or sovereign.” This is a grand tradition of pomp and circumstance. Imagine the Soviet Bloc, all drab and red accents, pushing the party line. Or better yet, the Parisian avant-garde—sans culottes—papering the Left Bank with leaflets.

Somewhere between the two lies fashion's current sovereign, Stefano Pilati, whose reign at Yves Saint Laurent is renewed each season not just by a fresh collection, but by his very own Manifesto, which captures the line's current essence in an easy, portable format. So what's his latest decree? YSL goes full-on Hollywood with an Amazonian Claudia Shaffer (in banana pants and sequins), resplendent under the glare of the California sun and that ubiquitous hillside sign. It's stark, brazen and savagely glamorous—the stuff of silver-screen dreams, with a little David Lynch thrown in.

Shot by Inez & Vinoodh, this season’s Manifesto will be released to the masses on the streets of Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo and, of course, New York on February 14. A limited number will be distributed in exclusive YSL totes with a USB port downloaded with exclusive video footage. Is this the ushering in of a glorious style revolution?

—Franklin Melendez

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Your First Look: Hedi Slimane

Friday, December 12, 2008

In Memoriam

Elegance and whimsy may not go hand-in-hand, but French sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne, who died this week at the age of 81, bridged the gap—so much so that his work was collected by fashion and design luminaries including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Reed Krakoff and Peter Marino.

Lalanne and his wife Claude worked together to make animal sculptures that often doubled as functional objects. With their surreal yet modern aesthetic, the Lalannes created, for example, a cast-iron baboon whose chest opened to reveal a stove, a coffee table composed of two gilded antelopes holding up a glass surface and a bronze hippopotamus that serves as a bar.

But the most famous works were a series of life-size fluffy sheep whose only purpose is to graze safely in the chicest of living rooms. As Krakoff once said: "When I first encountered one of their sheep, in a book of European interiors, I didn't know what to make of them. There was something whimsical about them that struck me as so charming, but at the same time, they had this weight of serious sculpture."

Born in 1927, Lalanne was a creative light that will shine on.

—Pia Catton

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Hint Tip: Yves Saint Laurent

Are you a Saint Laurent slut? Have we got a sale for you. Housing Works Thrift Shop recently received nearly 500 vintage Yves Saint Laurent pieces from a single anonymous donor (we're racking our brains, too), to be unloaded to the public—in a party, no less—at seriously low prices, even by recession standards. Leather skirts for $90, goddess gowns for $150, power pinstripe suits for $150, ruffle tops for $50 and so on. December 11, 6 - 9 pm, Housing Works Thrift Shop, 157 East 23rd St., 212-529-5955.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Yves Saint Laurent

Laurent Dombrowicz...

In a way, all the fashion world is Yves Saint Laurent's grieving widow. As such, how could the maison present a spring collections and pay tribute to its recently-deceased founder and master who lives on in the hearts of so many? Stefano Pilati, as creative director, is not about nostalgia or commemoration; he is a designer focused on new ideas, as was Monsieur Saint Laurent. His solution was to take Saint Laurent's signatures and give them a modern touch. Transparency, safari jackets, saroual trousers (Marrakech was Yves' paradise and home away from home), tuxedos and padded jackets were transposed with a sleek and edgy style. More seductive than dominatrix, the YSL heroine is, for spring, the most elegant woman on earth.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Hint Tip: Yves Saint Laurent

Today: relative calm. Tomorrow: Saint Laurent mania, as more than half a million copies of the third installment of designer Stefano Pilati's so-called manifesto are handed out on the streets of New York, Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Intended to give the haute house a more democratic sheen, the manifesto consists of a 20-page booklet containing all the images from its fall 2008 ad campaign, featuring the irrepressible Naomi Campbell as the ideal YSL woman, photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. The first 5000 copies handed out in each city will also come in a collectible limited-edition cotton tote designed by Stefano himself. Even if you miss out on the giveaway, the manifesto and a short film will launch simultaneously on Ysl.com...

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent Remembered

D. Matthews recalls a lifelong infatuation...

Like countless other “sensitive” American boys, I spent my youth avoiding football games, physical labor and math. Dusty rural boredom was my lot, typical male gender expectations my daily torture. I wanted something else from life, but had no idea what it was.

Until I found Yves.

I was 11 when I first heard of him. I don't remember how, but I know the world changed the moment it happened, and it would never look the same again. Yves Saint Laurent would become my education, my hero and, for the next decade, the best friend I never met.

He fascinated me for the way he seemed to live at the very heights of civilized Parisian life. He and his friends were so sophisticated. He seemed to embody his influences—they became him. He absorbed Picasso, Proust, Cocteau. He contained it all. He was Ludwig of Bavaria. He was Catherine Deneuve. He was Ingres. When he drew a dress inspired by Vermeer, Vermeer suddenly seemed to live again.

For several years I studied Saint Laurent almost every day, in one way or another. I was all about Yves, all the time. I wrote to him and dreamed of a response, which never came. I called Helene de Ludinghausen, directrice of couture, from my little home in rural Northern California and begged for copies of show videos, but was turned down (granted, it was pre-Internet, pre-Fashion TV, and the images were tightly guarded to prevent people from copying his designs.) A former model of his kept me enthralled by descriptions of his atelier. I bought Vogue patterns of his designs and taught myself to sew. In French class I took the name “Yves,” and was astonished when everyone laughed, thinking it was a woman’s name. For me there was no Eve, there was only Yves. Only Yves.

My master plan was to attend the Chambre Syndicale, get a job at YSL, become his protégé and eventually take over at Dior, as he had. The typical dream of so many aspiring fashion designers, right? Alas, it was not to be.

My favorite collection of his—everyone has a favorite—was the spring '90 couture, shown in January of that year, just a month after leaving Paris' Clinique Labrouste (there, reportedly, to recuperate from a broken arm.) He seemed reborn, and he had lost 35 pounds. He described himself as a new person emerging from “six years of hell.” Women’s Wear Daily photographed him in his Rue de Babylone apartment in front of a stunning new purchase: a tapestry called “The Adoration,” by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

The collection was a vibrant homage to his major influences, with dresses directly referencing Silvana Mangano, Rita Hayworth, Maria Callas and Marilyn Monroe. My favorite was the short, spunky, black minidress he designed for Zizi Jeanmaire, who was seated in the audience. At the end of the show Paloma Picasso and Nan Kempner had tears streaming down their faces.

It was an exciting collection for an exciting, transitional moment—the beginning of the end of the 20th Century. Ivana Trump, newly divorced from The Donald, wore a piece from the collection in her “revenge makeover” photo shoot for Vogue. The dress, inspired by Balenciaga, was cut to capture the air and float ever so lightly around the body. This was Saint Laurent pulling back the curtains and letting in the sunshine.

But illness and addiction were too much for him. This last great burst of energy and clarity would soon dissipate. His collections of 1990, including the gorgeously dramatic work he unveiled in July of that year, would mark his last really important contributions to fashion.

So what are we left with, now that he is gone? Clothing, sketches, runway images? All of those are very important, and we should be so grateful to Pierre Bergé for safeguarding all of it and more at their Foundation. But for me, the importance of all that is how it leads to Yves himself. The only Yves.

Questing, uneasy, he tried to find his way in life through the study of art and creation of beauty. We don’t know whether he ever healed whatever troubled him. But it seems his journey did transform, for the good, the lives of all who truly cared. Through his art we witnessed life uplifted by the flight of a taffeta ruffle, the seductive slip of bias satin—always created from the heart.

—D. Matthews

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The third and last part of Haidee Findlay-Levin's tips for fall...

It wasn't just the army of beautiful lips and bowl cuts that made our hearts leap at Yves Saint Laurent; it was the sharp, powerful, 80s-reminiscent tailoring, too. But here's what separates this season’s YSL and Louis Vuitton from Claude Montana and Gianfranco Ferré: the circular cutting and the curves in the jackets and skirts. In fact, some of the tulip and pod shapes we have seen at Vuitton and elsewhere this season are more Sebilla and Romeo Gigli—also from the 80s. I also noticed a variety of peplum jackets for fall. If the jacket was fitted, for the most part it had a sharp shoulder and a nipped or peplum waist, not only at Vuitton, but also at Yohji Yamamoto (left), where the peplum jutted out over long full skirts complete with a donut-rolled waist for an even fuller hip effect.

The shoulder was the focus last season. Now it's the sleeve, such as those at Costume National that wrapped around the shoulder blade and formed a pod in the back, or those at Kenzo that draped into a cocoon shape or an origami-like envelope. We also saw sleeves originating from the neckline, as well as sleeves that separate at the back of the jacket, falling into a detached cape back, as at Véronique Branquinho and Junya Watanabe. At Lanvin, attention was paid to a single mutton sleeve—a remnant of the 80s!

Some designers chose to embellish areas of essentially monochromatic fabrics with jet beading, feathers, ribbon, fine pleating, ruffles and pasmanterie. But there was nothing superfluous at Prada (left), where the most startling form of decoration was the heavy tablecloth lace constructed into minimal and austere silhouettes, and made further monastic by the under-layering of high-collared shirts.

The strength in Dries Van Noten this season came not only from the mix of dramatic prints, but that these potentially romantic dresses were offset by a simple high collar. Givenchy showed extremely high-collared pleated blouses, made less romantic by their coupling with leather trousers and military jackets. I loved it best at Yves Saint Laurent, where paper-thin turtlenecks were shown under tunic dresses, but extended well beyond into fingerless gloves. One known to take proportion to its ultimate extreme, Martin Margiela raised the collar so high above the shoulders as to become a cowl that almost completely obscured girls' faces.

Indulge in vast and unapologetic explosions of costume jewelry for fall. What we saw were statement pieces that were more sculptural than sweet or sentimental. Balenciaga contrasted latex and severe cuts with diamanté-encrusted collars, while the collars and cuffs at Yves Saint Laurent (left) consisted of Pace Rabanne-like chain mail with enormous crystal studs. At Louis Vuitton, the soft pastel palette was punctuated with heavy metal chokers and huge brooches. Lanvin ran with the trend and showed enormous Deco-geometric, mirror-glass pendants and wrist cuffs. This new form of armor added a needed toughness to clean silhouettes. The combination of heavy jewelry with extreme shoes could mean your chiropractor will be your new best friend.

There weren’t a lot of overtly sporty references this season, so it's safe to say you can burn your velour Juicy Couture tracksuits—and please do, if you haven't already. But there was a prevalence of scuba references. Miu Miu shook off its naughty baby-doll reputation and showed a series of dark satin scuba suits complete with Esther Williams-like swim caps. Or sometimes the scuba suit morphed into a tunic dress with bright-colored cycling shorts and sports tops peeking through laser-cut, abstract versions of lace. The addition of sequins made for a wet look that worked perfectly with the scuba references Balenciaga introduced so magnificently last season. Even Rick Owens discarded his more familiar draping and embraced open zippers that circled the legs like a scuba suit that was being slowly peeled off. Upcoming Olympics aside, the news that Hussein Chalayan is the newly appointed creative director at Puma may signal a sportier trend for him next season, as well as all those he influences.

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