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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

The Saint Laurent code


By Iris Edén Santiago

Special to The Star


It has been said that Chanel gave women freedom, but Yves Saint Laurent gave them power.


Monsieur Saint Laurent also gave women a unique point of view, a new brand of style and the confidence to rock men’s clothes while looking sexy as hell. Who can forget Claudia Schiffer in Le Smoking in 2002?


Algeria-born Saint Laurent was a fashion phenomenon who changed women’s wardrobes forever. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, he completely revolutionized the industry with radical looks for women that now are the new normal. It was then referred to as unisex; today we call it gender fluid or gender neutral fashion.


By messing with their heads -- sort of -- and proposing trousers, tuxedos, jackets and manly suits as elegant and seductive options, this genius opened a whole new world for women where attitude and style were more important than rules and trends.


YSL knew what women wanted. Besides Le Smoking, he gave us the Safari suits of the late 1960s, the Mondrian collection in 1965, and the Russian collection of the 1970s. In the hands of artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, the luxe label revolutionizes the industry again with an array of opulent and elegant suits, non-binary garments and highly sophisticated looks.


Every look Vaccarello presented in both men’s and women’s collections is clearly thought out and constructed. The tailoring, the fabrics, the color palette, it all works! The looks in YSL a/w 2023 are next level. Anyone can wear them.


Now for the fashion icon’s signature: The suit. Although a fair number of men and women have exchanged the executive office for comfy home spaces, as in business suits no longer required, a suit is a status symbol. There is no substitute for a good suit. It is a dress code that will always set you apart from a crowd. A tailored suit will always be a reflection and expression of your personality. It empowers you. Not a fan of suits? YSL will make you change your mind.


Besides suits and coats, the 2023 men’s collection included slimming pants in velvet and brocade fabrics paired with ultra fabulous and sophisticated blouses. Sheer blouses with pussy bows and cummerbunds are androgynous, gender inclusive and fabulous.


For women, Vaccarello presented power skirt suits with dramatic scarves, draped shawls and beautiful long coats. Pencil skirts were lean and mean, some with sexy slits in the front. Inspired by power suits of the 1980s -- think Kim Basinger, “Dynasty.” Blazers were boxy. And bigger. Clever and architectural. Also winning? Cashmere leggings and chiffon blouses with very long trailing neckties. We loved the pinstripe suits, the houndstooth coordinates, and the bright tartan textiles. Now for the details, those accessories that complete each look. In love with the seductive short leather gloves, the skinny leather belts buckled in gold, aviator shades, and the statement brooches #trend alert.

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