DALLAS, Jun 7, 2008 / FW/ — With the death of Yves Saint Laurent last Jun 1, 2008, Paris is mourning the passing of one its sons while the world grieve the loss of one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. Yet, fashion goes on as always, and the upcoming Paris Menswear Spring 2009 season attests to that fact, though the absence of Yves Saint Laurent would surely be felt.

Church at Rue Saint Roch - scene at Yves Saint Laurent Funeral
Church at Rue Saint Roch - scene at Yves Saint Laurent Funeral

Known more for his womenswear than his menswear, Yves Saint Laurent influence on men’s fashion is not as encompassing as his influence in womenswear. Yet, the mere fact that he actually made tuxedos part of an woman’s wardrobe makes one think – what if Yves Saint Laurent specialized in menswear instead of womenswear.

Will men have the equivalent of the now classic ‘peasant look’ that were based on the costumes of the Russian country folks? Will there be modern men’s clothes today that are based on the Bolsheviks?

Now, instead of women wearing tuxedos, will men wearing skirts be more popular among the mainstream crowd instead of just the Highlands where men wear kilts? If we imagine, the possibilities become endless.

Yet, how far had menswear gone during the 20th century and beyond? As we enter the final two seasons of the first decade of the 21st century, nothing had really caught our attention after Hedi Slimane changed the men’s silhouette to razor sharp thin.

Will the silhouette of menswear remain the same, with the innovations be more on the fabric and as Zegna had done, put gadgetry in a man’s coat. Zegna had put cutting edge technology in its famous suits, making this move groundbreaking.

Yet, some fashion pundits believe that it is just a gimmick, a play on what the market wants, that there is really no change in silhouette, that it will not change the way men dress.

Still, if we really look at it, how much have men’s clothes changed for the past 200 years? Not by much, if we look at history books. Though women’s clothing has changed so much from the time of Charles Worth when haute couture was born, men’s clothing have changed very little. Innovations have been centered on technology, i.e., better fabric, hidden pockets; in short, though changes are groundbreaking, they have been very subtle.

In short, right now, for Paris, the menswear scene needs someone like Yves Saint Laurent whose passion for women’s clothing changed not only fashion but also the whole world.


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