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Speculation over Pilati's fate dims YSL show
Speculation over designer Pilati's future at YSL overshadows spring-summer show
By The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) ' The clothes at Yves Saint Laurent were really quite ravishing, but a pall hung over the Paris label's spring-summer 2012 ready-to-wear show.

It was a safe bet that everyone in the opulent Right Bank mansion ' where Monday's display was held ' had read legendary International Herald Tribune fashion reporter Suzy Menkes' bombshell of a story last week saying YSL's Italian designer, Stefano Pilati, would soon be replaced by Belgium's Raf Simons, currently of Jil Sander.

The rumor mill has had Pilati on the brink of the sack for years now, but Menkes' golden reputation and more than 20 years of experience leant the story almost bankable credence ' even though the house later issued a feeble denial.

So it was that everyone was watching Monday's show as if it were Pilati's last.

Despite a few faux pas (a pup tent-sized day coat, anyone?) the collection was a strong one that showcased the kinds of rigorous but structured clothes Pilati does best.

He whipped up stiff silks in the saturated jewel tones usually associated with fall into pretty blouses that puffed out through the back and shoulders and into little skirts with panels of scalloped ruffles. There were palazzo pants in fluid paisley printed silks and halter tops in rich sapphire, amethyst and turquoise.

And let us not forget the black pantsuits that somehow managed to be even steamier than the ones from last season ' which were sported by several of the guests, including Elettra Wiedemann, Isabella Rossellini's model daughter.

Other A-list guests at the show included Sandra Hayek, Jared Leto, photographer Terry Richardson, and French actress Emmanuelle Seigner.

The audience of applauded Pilati heartily, almost urgently, as he took his post-show victory lap, as if they were already feeling nostalgic him.

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