2010 October 5

Runway Reviews: YSL, Giambattista Valli

YSL Spring 2011 YSL Spring 2011
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Halters and asymmetrical hemlines are among the ideas Stefano Pilati is contributing to the Spring 2011 season, but his YSL show, held tonight at the neoclassical masterpiece hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, was much more than the sum of its silhouettes, palette, and textures. Pilati is a deeply pensive designer, and as his models paraded through the hotel particulier, room by room, with raspberry lips and twisted coifs, they reminded a world-weary crowd what great clothes look and feel like. Beginning with a trim white trench, topped off with a twisted scaf around the neck, Pilati unleashed a lightweight sleeveless wool jumpsuit, an orange silk blouse paired with an A-length skirt, a series of ruffled Spanish-style dresses, and sophisticated '40s-style day dresses in printed silk chiffon. Narrow black belts, made of suede and trimmed in gold, cinched many looks, including some fabulously textured silks that made their way into Pilati's riffs on suiting. And the shoes, angular wooden platforms that dabbled in snakeskin, are guaranteed to achieve It-status. The final looks, Pilati-esque interpretations of le smoking, were as accomplished as those pioneered by the house's namesake.

With a penchant for volume and a steadfast appreciation of excess, Giambattisa Valli does drama with the best of the Paris designers. His Spring collection once again played with the proverbial white shirt, like many other designers have, and the notion of volume, which is often Valli's trump card. Let other designers dabble with demure, below-the-knee lengths; for Spring, Valli's bright, '60s inflected girls want to show of their gams, and they did so with minis draped and colorblocked (bright orange and citron shades were poppy and fun), sheer embroidered skirts, and a dash or two of leopard print. It was a feel-good collection for sure, right down to the silver ankle-strapped flats.