Today is an amazing spring sunday, there are some clouds in the blue sky, I am listening to a PRINCE mix and thinking about this collection, the final one for YSL by one of my heroes Stefano Pilati. Like AW 09-10, like his recent mens collection, this collection was full of leather, the kind that cinches in a soft to the touch manner, the kind that creates a shoulder line that would put fear into a high school all singing all dancing football team. That collection, along with SS 08 were pure Stefano taking control and making the greatness of YSL's legacy his own. His last collection, to me, felt like a comma, if he wasn't leaving we would see the crescendo in the next season. Imagine some one starting Niagara Falls for the first time, only to stop the plumetting cascade of water halfway down… My analogy is farfetched but it is what I felt about this collection. Over his tenure at YSL, Stefano has delved into the house's back catalogue pulling out, re-shaping, giving new meaning to some seriously wonderful clothes, along with showing myself and countless other folk his genius personal style (something I have already fan-worshipped about here maybe on page 7 or 8). AW12 was dark, would it be flippant to state that it always was going to be, of course the Call Lilies offered a light relief, but then Lilies are funeral flowers, so the darkness returns, this time with more edge. The chainmail eluded to warriors, to dominant females doing dominant female things, but to me felt super feminine when seen from behind. The frontal power made frail by straps criss-crossing across shoulder blades, there is a chink in everyone's armour…non? Sure the scraped back hair and strong lip in a shade of 3-day old claret stain proper make me jump up and down with glee, playing to my idealised view of a woman. Sure the combination of lily, used-up racing green, boil washed burgandy and the chainmail was beautiful, if you lay those colours next to one another you'd want to introduce a highlight to lift the sombre party, so it was left to the most classic of colours – white. Look31 was one of my favourites, the ankle skimming, back vented, habit-referenced drape in a nearly pure white with that silver lily snkaing up the hand…massive handclap all round. This was, for me one of the sexiest looks (WAH – that word sexy), one of the most alluring looks that stays in your mind. I have read a lot about this woman being a predator of the night, the 70s disco/Warhol references – lazy obvious reviewers who read the notes on their chairs before the shows and recycle words. True there was all the above, but it was more, there was more to this woman then crawling home in the light of a new day, she inhabits, in my view both worlds, day and night. It felt religious, full of the heady incense of a thousand martyr'ed saints, it felt a little assassin, a little office junior trying to get ahead on the back-ladder and a lot like a woman who knows herself.
Stefano is gone hopefully to return soon, I hope, I pray, his is a genius that should return (maybe with me assisting him! – HA – I would).
Hedi is in, true his YSL mens collections are among some of my favourite ever – absolute beauty. They were at the time the perfect opposite and antidote to Raf's tribes of boys – it would have been amazing to have seen them scrap in the skate park on STOCkWELL ROAD, BRIXTON!
CIAO STEFANO CIAO
It was a drunk weekend, one where you walk from pub to pub, with time limits on drinks and end up across town and not noticed how far you've walked and you don't care, because there is no reason to care and then you get indoors and drink one more rum/coconut milk/pineapple juice cocktail and smoked a few more cigarettes to take away the taste you just pass out and alls well in the world. I guess that's what Mandy's mum Lorraine does on Eastenders. Lorraine with the semi-permanent sheen of grease on her bob, Lorraine with the knackered bra that causes the viewing folk to gasp everytime she pours herself a stealth vodka into her juice cup, Lorraine who bullies Mandy, who cackles, who wears shades of washed out tangerine not seen since looking at photographs of your parents in the 70s…Lorraine is shaping up to be a character. The way she trotted into Janine's engagement party, how she flirts with Massood, how she knew Pat when Pat was on the game…oh the history that can and fingers crossed will be revealed. I mentioned my weekend because at least we made it home unlike Lauren "lands in the gutter because mutant Lucy doesn't look after her, but is found by (PH)at boy and dragged back to Whitney, who goes to Max, who is smoking outside and notifies him of his daughters extra drunk antics" Branning, it's a wonder how they get so drunk, there are limited places to imbibe liquor on the square and Manic Mondays does not appeal, even if Billy does let you in through his side door. Christian is back with a big wad of cash to buy the 16:45 at Kempton Park out of his and wet Saïd's life and business…forcing her to find solice in the arms of Anthony Max Factor Moon and his recently laundered bed…oh how the poor filly wept after, probably because she saw Anthony without the layer of foundation and highlights of blusher… I would be scared. I am not a fan of the Massood's, I laugh sometimes at Tamwars observations, but only sometimes, I find it stressful watching Zainab rattling on like some jukebox on cranky about nothing, sometimes I mute the sound and imagine what she could be saying. Bianca is cleaning at the Beale's, we learnt Bobby is picking his nose and wiping it where the wind blows it…dirty sod, it was sweet when Bianca saw Mandy and Lorraine wrestling over the television remote, Mandy wanting to watch Doctors, her mum 60minute makeover (CLAIRE SWEENEY GET IN YOUR BOX) and Bianca offered some words of advice to Mandy later, whilst her mum slept off another session of handbag booze. I am glad Roxy is away, to me her and Max going at it isn't going to be pretty television, like Shirley and her disappearing lips smooching the muzzle off Phil.
This week was Stefano Pilati's last YSL collection.
I will write about it, what I think, about the woman, the clothes, that scraped back hair and that shade of three-day-old claret…sublime…non?
I read this Bret Easton Ellis article
I am reading George Orwell "Books v. Cigarettes"
One of the best things about waking up on a blue sky Saturday is knowing that you do not have to leave the house, that you can just wear long johns, watch 3.5 hours of Eastenders and the Jil Sander show and relish the doing nothing mentality.
Crikey, so much has gone on in the square, it has turned into West Side Story – the Sharks and Jets replaced by the Brannings and MItchells. The Brannings have taken up Peggy's "THINK ABOUT THE FAMILY" mantra, since Derek showed up on the square. Derek seems to have everyone on the square running scared, embroiled in their day to day lives, his roasted hog fingers shoving fifties into Bianca's hand so she and her silver puffa army can go visit Sonja in another part of London. Bianca should possibly go buy another puffa, her's looks like its been stuffed with a few emmaciated pigeon feathers that enable the cold to rattle through her fried breakfast soaked skin and into her bones at a rate of knots akin to Concorde taking off in its heyday. True there are more Brannings on the Square, the Mitchell population is heavily reduced to Billy, Roxy, Ben and Lola. But Ben is showing he has Beale blood synchronised swimming through his viens, but their posse is made strong with a few fake name-takers (JAY). There was an amazing scene in Pat's old kitchen, when Roxy was running round the square looking for Amy, the Brannings were in the kitchen, all in black crombies, bar Jack who opted for an elephant cord biker-esque jacket, talking about how to deal with the judges decision. Carol sat at the table, the brothers stood around, all speaking in sentences loaded with exclamation. Jack listened to Bianca, forged the passport form, Michael found out, he lost Amy and Jack now weaps. Weaps into Max's car lot whisky. He did not seem all that bothered about Amy before all this, even though she lived upstairs from him. Derek set into motion a smear campaign against Roxy, which will only intensify as the weeks progress and February turns into March. Its amazing Derek manages what he does, all these personal wars he wages against residents, getting them into his schemes, like Alfie and some knocked-off booze and dodging the taxman via COSTA del CRIME. I did notice that Mutant Lucy has swept her fringe to one side and has taken on a Roxy-esque doo. Did some of Roxy's tumbleweave blow through her window as she slept and nestled onto her scalp? The same could be said of Rose, the human Sahara, whose Barnet looks fuller with some of Roxy's errant weave. That mutant Lucy is winding me up, with her cheap lace and strange games. She is no Janine, she targets the wrong folk, doesn't dream big. Why she felt the need to meddle in the Whitney/(PH)at boy/Tyler love story is beyond me. Obviously it had results, but then it made no sense, true she detests Whitney, but by breaking Whitney and (PH)at boy up, she paved the way for Whitney and Tyler to become one under a sky of 1000 red heart balloons. That mutant needs a talking to from Dorothy, especially if Dorothy wears that Missoni dress. All of that affair has been going on too long, it was funny when Tyler gave (PH)at boy 50euro for Paris, I did exclaim to the television that this is not a fortune (PH)at boy you Duracell sponsored fool, especially not in Paris. (PH)at boys Valentines disco was shite, he should concentrate on making the dancefloor dance, instead of chatting his nonsensical bollocks into the microphone. Heather's wedding planning is in fullswing, her chubby mitts are now accessorised with a lovely bit of ELIZABETH DUKE. Shirley and that Bouncer are butting heads like rutting stags, the pinnacle of their personal battle being a Chinese supper for three round Shirley's with tongue melting prawn crackers, not enough spring rolls and a foil wrapped baked-potato overloaded with cheese and pineapple on toothpicks. True all this handily diverts Shirley's attention away from her dissapearing lips and Phil not seeing her whilst he languishes at her Majesty's pleasure, Shirley left to sniff the undercarriage area of his boiler suit down at the Arches. The bouncer has a backstory, he has a temper, he ate cake off the floor when he was five, he wanted a red motorcycle, not his mother turning up in a red biker on a HARLEY DAVIDSON, he loves his aunty Dorothy, despairs at his mother with the skin of a desert after a sandstorm…the future does not look rosy, soundtracked to the Greatest Hits of one George Michael. Other stuff happened, the Massods are back after a welcome break, Max and Tanya aren't sexing, Janine has a designer baby bag and a coat straight from the Jane Beale school of dressing. Tomorrow I will see what happened this last week and I am excited, because of Derek, because of the fatties wedding, because of Cora and her wise words and because Jean is back with her sausage surprise and expert accounting skills.
Then onto Jil Sander and Raf's last show before he moves to Dior in a flurry of intelligent joy and Jil returns. Oh this fashion roundabout turns and turns, but bar one exception (I'll get onto that in a bit) it seems to be turning in the right direction.
Raf's last show, what a beauty, the catwalk with those floral displays, the Mazzy Star opening track, the static television lighting and then the clothes. i have read a few tweets and reviews that mention it was all a little Dior in feeling. True it had that sweet swing backed air, but with Raf's spliced genius and amazing fabrication. It was feminine, but it was tough, it had thought and mountains of conviction. Those silver foil skirts were beauty and the tailoring, especially in that red with the slight scopped neck, the model holding it shut 3cm into her decollage. It made me think of all those heroines I love leaving their gentleman friends at daybreak…INCROYABLE…the colour story slightly drained, last night fading into this morning, look5 with its pinkish nude top and nude wool skirt was sublime, with those broken corset seams. It just made sense to me. I like SS12, where others did not, how the last stretch of dresses made me think of the final scenes of FUNNY FACE, where Audrey is in her wedding gown in the countryside and Fred Astair dances with her (it gets me everytime). Look17, the nude versus the pearlwhite trouser…the knit sleeves straight from Vogue paris circa '54, just contemporarised with a matt panel that outlined the shape from the bust through the waist down to the inner thigh. It was elegant, it was demure, it was thoughtful, it was beautiful.
Also Bottega Veneta's collection was beautiful, and tailored and Tomas Maier is GOD, like Raf and Stefano. The opening section, those coat dresses were an exercise in dressing a woman in a powerful way.
And Jil's return to her label and her name, that must be weird, returning to your name, I can't imagine it, some strange dislocation.
And the news that Hedi Slimane is to replace Stefano Pilati at YSL. Hedi's YSL collections are some of my favourite menswear collections ever, so I am excited, but then I am sad, because what will happen to Stefano?
Stefano said once that he honestly does not think that there is a man alive that suits long hair. This is a statement and a half, one of those debate starters over a Johnnie Walker Black label on the rocks. Stefano Pilati has incredible style, the sense of style that makes you dribble like you’ve lost control again… The silhouette, the proportion, the man himself, like with his work at YSL, he does not reject what has been, he does not try to emmulate the MASTER, he puts it in his own words/vision… I remember having conversations in my first year at the RCA with certain peers from Finland and Singapore and I would be confused as to how this man with the tattooed limbs produces these dresses that are romantique (this was the time of this ) and then on the flipside have tailoring so strict. The contradiction was perplexing and mesmerising in equal measure, in my eyes the ultimate masculine/feminine (Bruno Pieters was another, doing something similar at the time that I worshipped). I was told by my peers that this was the beauty, the cleverness, that this apparent homme sauvage who appears to be without delicate bones in his body, produces such clothes. So I investigated, did the google search and looked and yes they were right, but more then that I discovered a secret mentor of style.
You know when you’re a fashion kid studying, you fall into a number of different camps and as you study and study and study this becomes diluted or extreme or you dissapear off on another tangent. At the RCA everyone was fairly normal, comfortable in their skins/style/way of seeing/promoting themselves. When I started, I was wearing stuff I’d been wearing for the previous two years, just moved on, quite English in outlook with a hint of Americana but nothing too finger definable. This was 2006 and the skinny jean and biker were like a street rash on the eyes…I had some skinnies but I felt a little self-aware in them and anyway I preferred my Dockers, Linus-influenced Marimekko stripes and duffel, it was a nice rut!!
Looking at Stefano, my eyes opened, new references were exposed to me, ways of wearing, how a tailored trouser with a high waist and dropped crotch, paired with a layered tee was hypnotising, beautiful…this world of possibilities (without the ability to grow a beard!). Translating proportion, a shrunken cardigan over a shirt, whose tails are out, not in a scruffy manner, more relaxed. I guess that is it, Stefano showed that you (me), can be smart/relaxed/forward-thinking without hurting yourself or looking too young, too old…just not yourself.
How you can wear the tailored trouser up round the way with a frayed hem, complete with shirt over jumper and slim-sleeve raincoat.
He was, he is, softly masculine, the pushed up shirt sleeve with the cuffs hanging down the forearm in some sweet surrender.
He is punk, he is matador, he is aggression, he is balletic, he is sportif…
Other designers come out at the end of their show wearing a uniform of sweatshirt and jeans or a shirt and jeans/nice trouser, because it is about their output, not their dress. Like they are making the statement “I have no time or have had no time to care for my appearance”.
Or on the reverse you have those who do dress-up, who add to to the theatre of their work…but look what happened to them.
As YSL said himself (not about Stefano) ” It is a natural, honest chic”.