Double Edged Symbolism at YSL

Double Edged Symbolism at YSL

Yves Saint Laurent, RST12, Paris.

It would be easy to view the recent Resort 2012 collection by Stefano Pilati on a purely superficial level by simply enjoying the summery nautical theme and dreaming of future holidays. The first half of the collection enjoys a myriad of ways to wear an anchor motif, almost acting as a lesson in the principles of design as we see how to change the scale, design, colour and materials of a symbol in order to maximise it’s use across a collection.

The anchor motif is teamed with other easily digestible nautical symbols, such as the instantly recogniseable rope, the cut of a sailor style collar or the contrasting stripes like the hull of a ship. Of course while the nautical theme is one that is often used an abused, at Yves Saint Laurent these symbols are cut with a sense of old world Yves flair and a knowing sense of novelty that is completed at the highest quality level.

But the symbolism does not stop here, and to consider this collection as entirely light hearted is to miss the weight of the message in the second half of the looks. It is in this latter half that a new symbol is used – the poppy. At times in fashion a symbol can be over analysed, people can try too hard to read too deeply into aspects of a collection that were probably never intended to be viewed with as much conceptual critique… but this is not just any flower that has been chosen for the floral repeat patterns, and unless I am mistaken I doubt that Mr. Pilati chose this floral without a slight sense of subversion. It’s not simply a daisy or a sunflower that has been used, the chosen floral is based on the poppy, a flower that has been used in the past as a symbol of remembrance and one that is worn in memory of the fallen members of the military and navy. It also carries the connotations of sleep, eternal sleep and is used in the production of opium, morphine and heroin. So not really your garden variety holiday wear.

Catwalk images from Vogue.comĀ»

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