Runway show honors Yves Saint LaurentEven without runway shows, the presence of Yves Saint Laurent in Korea has never been demure ― how can it be when a woman with a Mombasa, by now a classic handbag, walks in? The bag speaks for itself.
So last week, when the first runway show in Korea since the brand was launched in 2003 was held at the Grand Hyatt in central Seoul, it was a moment much anticipated by those in love with all things YSL ― be it a Muse bag, a pair of Dada pumps or a Touche Eclat concealer.
William Yoon, who represents Gucci Group in Korea, says it’s a perfect time to go big after good years at Yves Saint Laurent.
“While trunk shows at boutiques are more sales-oriented, with the first fashion show, we hope to generate larger coverage by the press, which could result in a wider range of customers,” said Mr. Yoon, who showed off his fashion-savvy side by wearing a suit custom-tailored by Alexander McQueen.
The iconoclastic British designer hooked up with the Savile Row tailor H. Huntsman & Sons in 2002. Sipping Laurent-Perrier champagne at the reception in the foyer, Mr. Yoon was quick to point out that the proper, if belated, introduction of the luxury French brand included a men’s collection.
Inside the Grand Ballroom, the stage was painted entirely in the famous “YSL Pink,” and the mood was all about paying tribute to the French fashion house a la the ’80s. While songs like “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads were loud enough to invite the ghost of the late Yves Saint Laurent, the brand’s new designer, Stefano Pilati, presented a current collection that gives modern and trendy updates on the brand’s archives.
Just like Saint Laurent’s former muses, such as Catherine Deneuve and supermodel Iman, the YSL woman exudes dark French chic.
Achieving that extremely polished and opulent look was as easy as slipping into vertiginous platform pumps and cinching YSL’s signature tunic tops, as well as suits with strong shoulders, with wide belts, a must-have for the year.
Grand and glitzy elements from the big-sized 1980s included gilded decorations found in a black shift dress worn with a chunky neck piece, which vaguely suggests the late designer’s birthplace in Algeria. There were heavily bejeweled cocktail dresses and super-sized bows, also a YSL trademark, at the neck and at the waist that might have made the late master’s ghost smile.
What about the makeup and hair? Yves Saint Laurent might ask. Adopted from the Paris show earlier this year, the models’ makeup was light and with deliberately less-than-perfect hair, tied casually in the back. The message was the freshness of active, healthy women today, who are too busy ― and perhaps too chic ― to visit a beauty salon. But that’s the real French woman!
At Yves Saint Laurent, a babydoll dress is hardly cute, not for women desperate to appear younger, as with a short mini dress covered with gold sequins worn with see-through gray pants. The dress faintly brought back the mod ’60s, but when it turned up in 2006, the effect was fluid, feminine and glamorous, far from the stiffer, graphic versions made by Courrege and Pierre Cardin.
The men’s collection, 11 outfits out of 39 on the runway, was true to its roots. Inspired by French gentlemen from the 1960s and ’70s, the look was refined yet relaxed for today’s nonconformist men.
The suits made for fashionably French men were not as tight or curvy as the sharp and defined suit worn by Mr. Yoon, the Gucci chief executive. Pilati, the former Gucci designer, mismatched elongated jacket and wide pants in subdued wintry colors and English patterns, solid against plaid, plaid against tweed, and the like.
Models slouched with hands in pockets, and Saint Laurent’s iconic safari jacket was worn in a casual manner, over a pair of soft-fitting pants that cut above the ankles, revealing suede loafers.
by Ines Cho