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Yves Saint Laurent Pin Up Boys

Godfrey Deeny
January 22nd, 2010 @ 1:03 PM - Paris

Fashion for the artistic gent was the main thread of a rather experimental and ultimately very clever Fall 2010 collection from the house of Yves Saint Laurent, staged Friday, Jan. 22, in Paris.

Presented before an intimate audience of barely 100 editors and critics, while scores of fans outside pleaded for entrance to this highly restricted event, the show was all about creating a wardrobe for the new artistic gent. In a world where the concept of "old money" means less and less, the best compliment many well-dressed men seek is that they look like successful artists.

But it was also a comment on the "body beautiful," especially the opening film, or films. One was a wonderful montage of color images of American female beach erotica by Bunny Yeager, and the other, black and white homoerotic images of three dashingly lean and buffed male models diving into an Arcadian pond shot as a homage to YSL’s creative director Stefano Pilati by Bruce Weber.

On the runway, however, every model wore clothes, as Pilati produced fashion very much in his own image – a successful artist dandy. This Friday, Pilati appeared in matching beige sweater and pants ensemble, his pockets showing two slashes of crystals.

Pilati is one of Paris' most innovative tailor, whose experimentations this season were eye-catching and sure to be highly influential. Take his latest trousers, multi pleat dhotis in gray flannel that swaddled the waistline and hung way down behind. They were cut one inch above the ankle, the better to display some great new shoes, like the slip-on brogues in a burnished russet hue or in café suede.

Some of his ideas will likely not reach retail shelves – how many men will want dungarees in faded houndstooth tweed? But their image and sense of Parisian spirit were still striking. And, plenty of slick city gents will go for his splayed open shearling bomber jackets, curvy pattern puffers and great wrap around trenches, in a season where lots of houses are showing wrapped up outerwear at a moment when we all need a little assurance.

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