Stefano Pilati, YSL’s creative director, recently said in Women’s Wear Daily about YSL’s New Vintage: “For me, my aim was more in the challenge, actually. […] It was trying to give fashion a value that is a bit beyond the visual aspect or the consuming aspect.”
So, it seems that Pilati attempted to use recycled cotton drill from YSL archives to add an additional story in the process of designing fabric into shapes that can be sold as style, and thus justify either a new reason for potential customers to buy his clothing. Currently, the zeitgeist of 21st century fashion seem to resonate with being conscious with one’s consumption, being mindful of one’s waste, and being environmentally-friendly — ideas that Pilati seemed to have fully exploited when he was interviewed at their release party in Barneys. There seems to be much value in the idea as supposedly most of the 60 pieces in the New Vintage collection was sold halfway through the party.
Yet, this idea seems to stand in sharp contrast with the glamour and luxury that drives much of the desire aspect in fashion. Even in the current economic climate when people are losing jobs and savings, and fashion retailers are going bankrupt, Frida Giannini, a creative director of another major fashion house, describes her summer plans: ““I’ll probably do something exotic very last minute. I’d also like to spend some time in my holiday home in Subaudia [near Rome]. It’s my spiritual hideaway.” And that could possibly signify that Frida Giannini is very cool and glamorous, and therefore customers can entrust their wallets to her for great style.
However, the link between the actual pieces Pilati was showcasing and the ideas behind what he was saying was somewhat fluffy. The argument is tenous to say that choosing between buying expensive and exclusive clothing made out of leftover fabric in one fancy party over buying expensive and exclusive clothing made out of new fabric in another fancy party constitutes as doing something conscious towards consumption and the environment. Yet, I fall for it as a consumer. I have bought vintage YSL shirts and I rave over the quality of its fabric. It’s soft, beautiful and incredibly durable. When I look at the tag, all it tells me is it’s made of 100% cotton, but I know there has to be a story behind it and I want to own that story. It seems that others have had similar experiences as well. So what did Stefano Pilati and the house of YSL do right? The answer seems to be purely emotional beyond words and reason.