| PARIS, March 9
PARIS, March 9 After a tough 2009, the head of
French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent thinks it is too early
to be optimistic despite growing signs consumer spending is on
Having just watched a presentation of the maison's austere
collection for next autumn and winter, YSL Chief Executive
Valerie Hermann was in sync with the fashion house's sombre
"We have all been very affected by the year 2009, so we are
very careful," Hermann told Reuters after the show late on
Monday. "It is true that there is more optimism than in
mid-2009, but I think we have to wait, to be reasonable and draw
lessons of what happened in 2009."
The fashion house, which broke even during the downturn year
of 2008, slipped to a loss in 2009 after suffering a 12 percent
drop in comparable sales.
YSL was hit hard by a slump in demand from U.S. wholesalers
and a drop in spending in western Europe. But Hermann said
people were starting to open their wallets again.
"We do feel there is a rebound, that there is a genuine
desire to buy," she said.
In February, U.S. retailers saw their best monthly sales
since the beginning of the recession.
Yves Saint Laurent sits alongside Balenciaga, Stella
McCartney, Bottega Veneta and Sergio Rossi within the Gucci
Group, owned by French retailer PPR (PRTP.PA).
YSL designer Stefano Pilati unveiled a collection of black
suits and dresses fitted with detachable clear plastic
mini-capes, which drew praise from singer Kylie Minogue.
"The clear plastic sheets are fabulous. I am loving capes. I
have always loved capes. All the best people wear capes.
Superman, Wonderwoman, me tonight," Minogue said.
Pilati's 2010 autumn/winter collection also included
ensembles of dresses and blouses fitted with a judge's large
neck bands. It also featured a bright emerald satin blouse with
puffed out "power shoulders" -- a running theme for next season.
Like Stuart Vevers at Loewe and Alber Elbaz at Lanvin,
Pilati also adorned his stilettos with tufts of fur, but his
came down in a thin mawhawk-style line on the heel.
Pilati said his silhouettes this year were longer, pants
were wider and lower on the hips. Suits are dresses were
accessorized with long heavy gold pendants.
"I wanted to pay tribute to Yves Saint Laurent's 1970s
style," Pilati said.
His show was presented in the Paris Grand Palais on the same
day a retrospective exhibition of Saint Laurent's work was
unveiled in the nearby Petit Palais.
Saint Laurent, known for his women's tuxedo suits,
safari-style jackets and opulent sequined dresses inspired by
famous painters, died on June 1 2008 in Paris at the age of 72.
(Editing by David Holmes)