Set against the studious backdrop of the Academies des Paris, YSL unveiled their AW12 menswear collection last night with Head Designer, Stefano Pilati on fine form presenting a leather luxe line perfect for Paris runways, Berlin dance-floors and Wall Street pavements alike.
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Aptly given the setting, Pilati had clearly been hard at work burning the candle at both ends on a collection that was coherent, cohesive and YSL at its absolute best. With a nostalgic nod to Warhol, Mapplethorpe and the fetishistic fashions of NYC circa 1970, Pilati clad his class of sharp featured chaps in tailored leather pieces and outerwear exclusively in a palette of grey and black. With the collection informally titled ‘Sex and Money’ the models were groomed to look every ounce the Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho. Slicked back hair and accentuated eyebrows had the boys looking ready for the finance fight, Mr Batemen will no doubt be first to the tills. Lapels and shoulders were given the leather treatment, waistlines were high and powerful, and boots and loafers came buckled with a pretty lethal looking metal strip. Softer notes were introduced in mega-luxe black shearling and slouchy necklines (again in leather). Continuing the monochromatic theme, at the top of the runway stood a giant blackboard chalked with Andy Warhol quotes. With a soundtrack by Fred Sanchez the tone was further enhanced – spoken word recordings of interviews with Warhol, read by former flame of Mapplethorpe Sam Wagstaff, were mixed with Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’. Backstage Mr Pilati discussed the collection’s themes with i-D “I decided to call the collection ‘Sex and Money’, I was trying to find an association between the two. In the era of Andy Warhol, Sam Wagstaff, Monsieur Saint Laurent, the leather trench-coat, the cap, sex was not actually related to money. Now people have power, that translates to money and they buy anything they want, there’s no underground, nothing is hidden any more. It’s kind of a gesture to that, the black leather still works in the same way it did, it has that ‘sex’.” Come banker’s bonus day here’s hoping they splash the cash on a YSL leather number, the stock-market floor will never be the same again!
Text: Sean Baker
Photography: Mitchell Sams