Seriously sexy at Yves Saint Laurent

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Razor-sharp tailoring versus playful big bows, sturdy fabrics versus ultra-fine silks: designer Stefano Pilati walked a line between stern and sexy with his summer look for Yves Saint Laurent on Monday.

Top model Claudia Schiffer and Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood were among the celebrities who took place under the ornate ceilings of a private Paris mansion as the venerable house unveiled its ready-to-wear look for summer 2011.

Giant bows sat at the nape or across the back, there were reefer jackets and jumpsuits, raw-looking fabrics and see-thru mousselines as Pilati reworked several of the late couturier's classic motifs.

Saint Laurent's classic colours - black, white, sand - also ruled the palette, along with touches of rich orange or bronze green, for a look both sensual and slightly austere.

Lips glossed carmine red and hair scraped back into tight chignons, the models strode confidently in platform shoes and office-ready sleeveless skirt-and-jacket suits in black or white.

Bouncy, frilled skirts came in magenta, blue and orange on black, while a deep orange blouse had bouffant sleeves and a see-thru panel across the shoulder-blades, offsetting a black A-line skirt and wedge shoes.

For evening there was a sheer, frilled turquoise dress, a deep blue silk jumpsuit with shimmering jodphur-like pants, or pantsuits like reworked tuxedos which had a light, skittish feel.

A far cry from Saint Laurent's bourgeois chic, a trio of British designers blew a summery breeze into town earlier, with Giles Deacon showcasing a look for Emanuel Ungaro that was all flowers, glitter and delicate lacework.

Deacon skipped the catwalk in favour of a garden party display, with models sipping champagne around a montage of flower-covered old cars - Beetles and a yellow camper van - with giant butterflies poking out the top.

A whiff of the 1920s filled the vast glass venue, as models showed off black cocktail dresses of see-thru lace embroidery.

Shiny black tweed shorts were paired with a longer jacket and sparkling black heels, while day-side there were short, embroidered dresses in pastel salmon or turquoise.

Fish-net tights for all, dangling crystal earrings, polka-dotted stilettos, puffed-out ostrich feathers on a head-dress, skirt or jacket, and the odd pair of ornamental sunglasses finished off the look.

For his first ready-to-wear line for the house, where he took over this summer, Deacon said he wanted to "reinterpret the sensuous, soft, vivaciousness that Mr Ungaro was known for."

Intricate lace-work and embroidery provided the starting point, he said, and the garden party setting was a way to let "people see the workmanship, up front and close."

"I wanted it to be good fun, colourful - something a bit quirky."

Deacon had career and non-professional models of different ages mingling on the indoor lawn - chatting to guests and nibbling at the odd macaroon.

"I design for women. I'm not intent on designing for infants," he explained.

Ungaro's offbeat casting was the latest example of a trend seen at Balenciaga where Nicolas Ghesquiere hired non-professionals and a pregnant Miranda Kerr, and Jean Paul Gaultier who used plus-sized models.

At Stella McCartney, it was the British designer herself - heavily pregnant with her fourth child - who set the tone for a line based on denim and citrus prints.

Her denim effect was tailored into bermuda shorts, polo shirts or roomy, navy silk pants that fell below the knee, while the bright-coloured fruit print was splashed into a long, white pleated silk skirt.

For the office there were pastel suits that paired high-waisted pants with little polo tops.

Waistcoats covered the chest entirely, but left the back nude for what the designer dubbed an "understated sexiness".

And fellow Briton Hannah MacGibbon imagined her models as ballerinas, as she unveiled her new collection for Chloe, built around pale-hued chic dresses and pleated skirts, and drapes and minimalist overcoats in camel.

White dresses in crepe or fluid jersey stopped at the knee, cinched with a simple knot at the waist, while pleated models reached down to mid-calf.

Hair was pulled into tight chignons as models stepped out in leotard-like tops scooped low in the back.

A dress was slit down the back and up the legs, revealing a pair of shorts - just as mini-shorts and skirts were overlaid with petticoats in tulle or the finest of summer mousselines.

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