Le beau monde: Yves Saint Laurent's Edition 24

Transcend fast fashion with modern classics from Yves Saint Laurent's Edition 24, says Susannah Frankel

Fashion is a protean creature and those who enter into it without the ability to move swiftly with the times do so only at their peril. The most gifted designers, meanwhile, have the insight not only to keep up with the Zeitgeist but to predict their customer's needs even before she has identified them for herself. A case in point is the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, Stefano Pilati.

Three seasons ago, Pilati ditched the proudly bourgeois, hour-glass silhouette that he had perfected for this great French house and replaced it with something rather more austere and comparatively voluminous in style. The look was predominantly neutral in hue – although with the odd flash of vivid colour which the Yves Saint Laurent name is famous for; understated but luxurious none the less. The point was that the customer – and indeed any onlooker with an eye for fashion – would know the value of the clothes, both aesthetically and materially, but that there was nothing even remotely ostentatious about the look as a whole. Suffice it to say that a year and a half on, Pilati is still upholding these values. The difference is, however, that now the rest of the world has caught up with him, from the catwalk down.

Last year, meanwhile, Yves Saint Laurent introduced a new line – Edition 24 – priced more reasonably than the main line though boasting the same discreetly opulent sensibility. Not only is Edition 24 more affordable, and therefore accessible to a broader clientele, but also it stays in store for a year, as opposed to merely a few months, representing a kick in the teeth for fast fashion. And here too, Pilati was ahead of his time.

"A wardrobe of essentials doesn't need to be defined or locked in to a particular season," says the designer today. "Edition 24 is about season-less dressing, versatility. It's a response to the needs of a modern woman's lifestyle where she moves from city to city, from office to airplane and so on. It is wonderful to have an expression that is pure fashion, which is the runway collection, but we also have to be connected to social issues, to think about how women live today." If you were to think that such practical concerns are always at the top of any self-respecting designer's list, then that is by no means the case.

"This is a collection of keepsake classics, inflected by the essential codes of the house," Pilati continues. Certainly, there are more than a few pieces that are quintessential Yves Saint Laurent in flavour, from the safari jacket – the ultimate in luxe travel outerwear – to elegant column dresses, and from the trench coat – at its most chic when pale and interesting – to the printed silk blouse.

Yves Saint Laurent Edition 24 unsurprisingly comprises 24 looks. The second collection arrives at Yves Saint Laurent boutiques this month and is subtly inspired by travel: "Morocco, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Native America, Scandinavia ..." The mood of the collection aside, the more accessible price point is clearly a significant draw although Pilati insists that quality is in no way compromised. "The same standards of quality and craftsmanship are applied with Edition 24," he argues. "It is a question of order volume, of economics, that creates the price differential." Put simply, if a collection sells in greater volume then the price of both materials and manufacture decreases and that can only be good news for the customer, whoever she may be.

Much has been said recently about the democratisation of fashion and that tends to refer to high-street interpretations of designer originals, but it has wider implications than that, affecting not only the copycats but the designers themselves. "Through Edition 24 I am able to consider and project my fashion, and my aesthetic sensibility, on a large scale," Pilati confirms. "This collection enables us to make fashion big and give beauty to the mainstream. It's about widening the net." Neither is the Yves Saint Laurent core customer averse to adding to her wardrobe with pieces that are slightly more straightforward and therefore less immediately identifiable. "You want a woman to be able to find everything she wants in your brand, whether it's very high fashion or fashionable practicality. This gives you something you can always rely on, no matter where you are."

Saint Laurent, 172-173 Sloane Street, SW1, enquiries 020-7235 6706; ysl.com

Model: Mariana at Select
Make-up and hair: Ninni Nummela using
MAC Cosmetics
Photographer’s assistant: Amy Gwatkin
Stylist’s assistant: Orsolya Szabo

Prints by Daren Catlin at Bayeux
Shot on location at Le Sirenuse Hotel, Positano, Italy.
Opened in 1951 it has 63 luxurious rooms, suites and junior suites. Visit www.lesirenuse.com; call 00 39 089 875 066.

With thanks toFranco and Antonio Sersale

house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living