Stella McCartney's tuxedo lines pay homage to YSL

PARIS Mon Oct 4, 2010 10:03am EDT

1 of 9. Models present creations by British designer Stella McCartney as part of her Spring/Summer 2011 women's collection during Paris Fashion Week October 4, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Stella McCartney may have dedicated her new collection to family and friends but sartorially, she paid homage to Yves Saint Laurent with tuxedo-inspired tops and all-white suits.

Models sashayed past her impressed father, former Beatle Paul McCartney, in sleeveless, low-cut white satin jackets on slit, open skirts.

"It is so stylish, so brilliant... I am so proud," McCartney told Reuters after the show under the gilded dome of the Opera Garnier house in central Paris.

Stella McCartney is the latest designer to have been hit by the Saint Laurent fever, fashion critics say.

Looking at the trends for the next spring/summer collection, the iconic designer also influences Marc Jacobs' bright colors and Givenchy's black and white suits.

Saint Laurent's stylistic presence on the runway coincides with a series of retrospective exhibitions on the French designer and a recently released feature film about his love story with his long-standing business partner Pierre Berge.

Saint Laurent, who died two years ago, is widely regarded as having changed the way women dress by putting them into pants both day and night, into safari jackets and into what the French called "Le smoking," the tuxedo jacket.

"Le smoking, le smoking, is everywhere," Ken Downing, fashion director of U.S. department store Neiman Marcus told Reuters after the show.

"YSL of the past is influencing a lot of designers on the runway this season... She (McCartney) is a great lover of men's tailoring... but then again it is this very Saint Laurent idea of (taking) a men's suit and putting it on a woman so she looks confident and yet still sexy."

Downing said the image of Bianca Jagger in an all-white YSL suit was very present at fashion shows in Paris this season.

But McCartney's new collection also included ample denim tops and outfits and as well as suits and dresses made with large citrus prints which drew praise from front-row guests.

"I loved it. All I have to say is lemons! My favorite print in fruit. I am obsessed with lemons," singer Beth Ditto, who opened Jean-Paul Gaultier's show at the weekend, told Reuters.

Stella McCartney is part of the Gucci Group which is owned by the PPR luxury and retail group, headed by Francois-Henri Pinault, who was present at her show, together with his actress wife Salma Hayek.

ANDROGYNOUS

The tug of war between masculine and feminine also took center stage at Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf, whose new collection presented at the weekend, they said, "explored the femininity of a men's shirt."

The designers, who describe themselves as a two-headed eagle, played with the bank clerk's stereotype armband, putting three of them on shirt's sleeves, producing a stylish bouffant effect.

Their collection also included white shirts with triple short sleeves or with a floating long train.

Viktor & Rolf, also known for their Flowerbomb perfume, have been producing collections together since graduating from the fashion department of the Arnhem Academy of Arts in 1992.

They designed a special collection for H&M four years ago, a partnership of the type the Swedish brand continues to do regularly with couture designers. Next month, it will be the turn of Lanvin's Alber Elbaz.

Some buyers said they were worried the brand's theatrical wares were not always be easy to sell.

But the brand had one committed buyer on the front row: ex-Spice girl Geri Halliwell.

"I am doing only one show this year and it is their show," Halliwell told Reuters. "They (Victor and Rolf) are very creative, think out of the box, push it a little bit -- they are really interesting to me."

She said she liked the collection's flowing shirts, little shorts and "vibrant and joyful colors" which included pastel soft greens and pink.

Only the Brave, the parent company of jeans brand Diesel, which also controls Belgium's Maison Martin Margiela, has a majority stake in Viktor & Rolf.

(Editing by Steve Addison)

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