Autumn/Winter 2012 has been a season of farewells. Raf Simons took his final bow at Jil Sander in Milan and now Stefano Pilati bids adieu his near decade-long tenure at the house of Yves Saint Laurent. For his swan song, Pilati gave the crowd what they wanted — one last time: A collection so subtly chic, immaculately executed and oozing a quintessentially Parisian sophistication that could only be Saint Laurent.
It began in darkness, with an opening quartet of black swaddled models, the collars of their wool coats embossed with leather or a metallic silver collar peeking out from beneath a jacket’s lapel. Chainmail knitwear, including swishing shift dresses with low-cut criss-cross backs, saw Joe Zee tweeting “I smell a cover!” breathlessly from the front row. The collection smacked of the directional sophistication that Pilati has long since been known for breathing into the label.
Fox furs perched elegantly on models’ shoulders atop silk slightly kimono-shaped short sleeved shirts, cinched at the waist and paired with slim trousers to affect an elongated silhouette. The only print introduced into the collection was that of a delicate lily, fluttering gently down crepe de chine floor-sweeping evening columns, crisp cream suiting and quaintly belted silk trenches. While Pilati’s next move remains a question mark, his run at Yves Saint Laurent as clinched with this final collection, certainly requires no ambiguous punctuation. Pilati for YSL has been, above all things, a paragon of sohisticated Parisian style. Period.