No news was not good news at Yves Saint Laurent's yesterday.
The wonder boy of Paris couture, who made such a bang last season, produced little more than a whimper. Fashion lovers, who always look up to Saint Laurent for direction were frankly disappointed by his revival of the pants suit, indifferent daytime tent dresses and a tedious, series of peasanty-ruffled chiffon dresses, with ruffled bedjacket-like tops.
The only lift was all the big taffeta or faille skirts, with soft, lingerie Gibson Girl blouses. But beautiful and romantic as they were, they did not move fashion one inch forward. The look has already been copied at all levels of the mass market.
Saint Laurent was all smiles after the show, but fidgety and obviously not in top form.
Asked why he had not done more withthe stiff fabrics and big look that he put on the map last season, he said: "Oh, but there were a lot of big skirts at the end." Unfortunately, it was a case of too little and too late.
Why didn't he show more short skirt (the only real news in Paris this week? "I don't think that short skirts are for my couture customers. They're for the young so I leave them in my ready-to-wear. Besides," he added, "I don't think short skirts will ever come back."
There was one department in which Saint Laurent had no trouble. That is his love affair with his rich customers. The celebrity row was solid with baroness Guy and David de Rothschild, Catherine Deneuve, Nan Kempner, Marisa Berenson, Rosemarie Marcie Riviere, Mrs. William McCormick, Blair Jr., Helence Roachas and Mrs. Yul Brynner, who came with her husband. He love it. "It's like watching theater," he said.
The finale certainly was. The bride, in a staff gold dress, was out of a Velasquez painting.
But to go back to the clothes, it was hard to believe that Saint Laurent had had much to do with them. The rumor has it that Loulou de La Falaise, who has been helping with accessories for years, was responsible for the ruffled chiffons. The nwest items were blouses - a soft, Pierrot ruffled one that he put with his pants suits, thus softening them considerably. The jacket too was no longer tailored and hard chic but an encore of the braided and quilted dolman style that he already put in his last year's ready to wear.
The other blouse that made an impact was a Victorian high-necked and ruffle-edged affair cricled by dowager's cameo.
The colors, too (lots of black) were somber and un-summery. Favorite prints were paisleys, tiny florals and stripes.
If anybody can afford to mark time and sit a season out it's Saint Laurent who has done so much for the world of fashion. His fans can only hope that by next season, he will be back to normal and his own creative self.
Otherwise, the big news, and the the big issue in Paris, so far is the short skirts. They got a big send-off from the ready-to-wear designers notably Kenzo of JAP.
Cardin had a huge collection, with hundreds of short skirts popping out like firecrackers. At Dior's Marc Bohan made a timid attempt at shortening skirts, but balked at anything higher than the kneecap. But Philippe Venet in his own, unpreentious way, understood the shor message. His clothes were 10 years younger for being two inches shorter.
He also saw the new direction to wards stiffer fabrics and used plenty of organdy, heavy satins and Gazar.
With lots of suits around, the little Chanel suit is still a winner. The first Chanel ready-to-wear will be on sale Chanel got immediate acceptance when she made her late comeback in 1953.
Other major trends in Paris: The waist is all important, with big, big belts that can be 10-inch wide cummerbunds. The summer bestseller will be the big skirt with peasant blouse, a look that women love because it is not as grand as regular evening gowns.
The lingerie look is infectious, with lace, ruffles, tucks and flounces.There are miles of multicolor ribbons and masses of lowers.
For girs-watchers the Paris models who used to be as flat as a board have suddenly developed what looks like silicone breasts - a must if one is to wear all those see-through blouses.