Paris Diary: Day Seven

Published March 6, 2012

The hard-edged femme fatales that Stefano Pilati let loose on the Yves Saint Laurent runway for his final show as creative director of the house are an erotically charged lot, and Yves himself would not be immune to their charms. Precise, cinched tailoring, black leather lapels and tunics, liquid chainmail metallic knits, and blouses with metallic sheen gave these vixens an untouchable trophy perfection, like the hood ornament of some impossibly chic motorcar. While the house has yet to announce who will take the reins, Pilati will be sorely missed, and eagerly anticipated elsewhere, as evidenced by the standing ovation he received.

Clare Waight Keller is in her second season at Chloé, and she’s mapping out the girl, a frisky young woman who picks and chooses her style from Parisian chic to England festival cool. Accordingly, Keller presented great duffle coats and other sturdy tailoring classics in sunny apricot and lemon-yellow thick wools before moving on to lace from T-shirts with satin sleeves to zip front jackets, delicate silk shirt dresses with transparent lace skirts, and single-button coats with pearled lace appliqués.

Pierre Balmain carries on beyond the bling of the main line with a collection of house standards including body dressing and biker tailoring. After last season’s start, the collection has grown up a bit, while maintaining the downtown vibe all in basic, black, white and midnight blue for those who believe in eveningwear 24-7. The narrow coat with studded leather bolero trompe l’oeil is a standout, as is thick flapper fringe for the sexy LBD. Newer and very desirable are biker hybrids, like the white wool and fleece coat with enough zips and topstitching to please a chic Hell’s Angel.

Sacai’s Chitose Abe’s thing is condensing three or more styles into one piece, preferably contradictory looks. And this season she did it with gold button military style tailoring and racy bright lace and frills; Mongolian fur and sleek black leather trenchcoating; neon biker tailoring and crystal pleat dancehall transparence, most of it worn with knee socks and school shoes. The sky blue schoolboy shirt and camel-gray skirt with a metallic lattice bustier is just the thing for sexy daydreaming in the library.