Pilati’s reinvention of chic (played out at double-quick speed in the splendid setting of the 1880s Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild), took familiar elements and tweaked them to faintly disquieting effect. A grayed pied de poule tweed, for instance, was used for a coatdress that oddly attenuated the proportions of an eighties YSL jacket; the model’s automaton stride in her white chiffon box-pleated skirt revealed that the garment was culottes; a classic fringe-tongued loafer was grafted onto a wedge heel that recalled Salvatore Ferragamo’s late 1930s experiments. And one of the few overt embellishments was an embroidered crystal motif of broken chains.
Pilati played with those Cristóbal Balenciaga volumes with mushrooming boule-shaped capes—and the chicest parka—while here and there he literally evoked moments of Saint Laurent history. The bateau-necked pepper-and-salt tweed marinière, or sailor’s blouse, for instance, cut like a boule over lean black pants, recalled a similar example from an early 1960s YSL couture collection; a trapeze-shaped dress of perforated black patent evoked the silhouette of Saint Laurent’s 1958 debut at Christian Dior, and the froth of white ostrich feathers for a coat brought to mind the plumed extravaganzas that Saint Laurent himself designed for the gamine ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire.

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