YSL does fall-winter 2011-12 in a nutshell

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PARIS (AP) - If you could only see one show on Paris’ packed nine-day-long fall-winter 2011-12 ready-to-wear calendar, it would have to be Yves Saint Laurent.

Not because it was the most amazing _ though the collection was a strong one _ but because it synthesized in several dozen looks the main trends that have swept Paris catwalks like wildfire over the past week.

Everything was there: the proper wool princess coats with oversized fur sleeves that were practically inescapable this season _ except at animal lover Stella McCartney’s fur- and leather-free label; the ultra-wide length trousers, high-waisted A-line skirts and pantsuits that all channeled an easy seventies elegance, similar to what Chloe fielded earlier in the day; and there was the cape, THE must-have outerwear piece for next winter.

The City of Light’s collections move into their second-to-last day on Tuesday, but there are still blockbuster shows ahead, including Valentino, new Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton’s second collection and the ever-jaw-dropping mega-production from Chanel, which draws literally thousands of women decked out in head-to-toe Chanel.


YSL designer Stefano Pilati is a master tailor, and his take on all the season’s hottest pieces were impeccably cut breathed an effortless Parisian chic.

It’s a safe bet that there’s not a fashionista out there who wouldn’t trade just about anything for one of those white halter-top jumpsuits, cinched at the waist with oversized gold chains, or the coat in purple Prince of Wales checks that dissolved into a sprinkling of marabou feathers at the hemline, or the wide-legged pants paired with a mutton-chop sleeve, lavalier-neck blouse.

And who could blame her?


Bruno, a rising star who’s among the new wave of young French designers to make a splash Stateside, continued to churn out the casual Parisian looks that have seduced legions of American fashionistas.

For autumn she looked to Russia, serving up flowing peasant dresses, nubby knitwear and oversized sweatercoats in neutral, unbleached tones. Little caps, like something a peasant woman working in a Soviet collective farm might have donned, topped off all the looks.

On paper, the collection sounds utterly unsexy, but Bruno’s trick is enfusing pieces that at first glance seem to be geared more toward dowdy grandmas than hot young Parisiennes with a kind of offhand sensuality.

Stacy Smallwood, the owner of the high-end Hampden Clothing boutiques in South Carolina, was sure Monday’s collection would drive her clients wild.

Vanessa Bruno has a simple sophistication that looks fabulous on anyone and translates really well,” said Smallwood, who’s carried Bruno’s line for about two years. “My clients are not going to buy the head-to-toe looks _ that would be a bit much for South Carolina _ but they’re definitely going to fall in love with individual pieces.”

For Smallwood, the key to Bruno’s appeal was crystal-clear.

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