by Penny Martin .

YSL rocks!

Be advised: my picture does no justice to the phenomenal collection we saw at the Yves Saint Laurent showroom today. The curvaceous silhouettes of these clever, bourgeois clothes are composed from the Stefano Pilati shapes we know and love, love, love. The tulip skirt; the short, round shouldered jacket with puffed short sleeves or cuffs; chunky, faceted shoes; the silken, sleeveless shell top with a massive bow at the throat that wraps women up like a great big present. But far from a re-run, this was an excercise in showing off how elaborate Pilati could afford to be whilst remaining at the level of ready-to-wear. Fabrics were luxurious and complex: an inside-out, techno bouclé was trimmed with patent leather fashioned into tiny pyramids and bronze, textured sequins were loaded onto the new, ecclesiastical tunic shape to create a show-stopping dress, which was worn over some dove-grey, gossamer leggings. The softest black chamois was even fashioned into beautiful leather blouses (not an oxymoron, honest!). Embroiderer to Chanel and Christian Dior couture lines Mr Lesage was typically ambitious with his embellishment; using raw zip edges as trims and gold metal cords to weigh down blouses and skirts. A classic black PVC mac recalling an original from the 1962 YSL collection paradoxically added a harder, contemporary edge. Such a stylish mixture of classic Saint Laurent emblems with audaciously modern -even slightly industrial- details thrust Stefano Pilati's Autumn/Winter '06-7 collection into a class of its own.