Yves Saint Laurent was renowned for his innovative style and his deft use of colour. Followed after his retirement by Alber Elbez and Tom Ford, the great man’s label is now in the hands of Stefano Pilati who continues to revamp the YSL image with his subtle sexiness and precise tailoring. Recently in the news for a very public legal spat with Christian Louboutin where he accused the label of infringing on his signature red soles, Yves Saint Laurent footwear has been desirable and talked about for many years.
For the Yves Saint Laurent SS00 collection Alber Elbaz showed simple high heeled pumps and sandals in camel, cherry red and black leather. AW00’s shoes were also simple in design. In shades of black, plum, brown and caramel with elongated toes and spiked heels, the collection’s evening shoes were open toed with delicate t-bar straps.
Tom Ford’s first YSL collection for SS01 saw 1940s inspired black and white pumps and t-bars, some in gold and silver leather and many with thick cuff like ankle straps and spiked heels. The AW01 Yves Saint Laurent collection had sexy wrap around shoe-boots with chunky soles and heels.
The SS02 Yves Saint Laurent Mombasa Collection featured sleek leather t-bar shoes with chunky wooden YSL heels in black and red leather and velvet. Evening shoes featured silver chains. AW02 saw super sexy, criss crossed lace up Yves Saint Laurent shoes in silk and velvet with narrow heels.
SS03 saw the famous Yves Saint Laurent Lip shoes. Made from brown, black and purple leather with sinuous towering heels, they featured enamelled lips on the toes. AW03’s shoes featured rich velvets and silks mixed with techno feeling clear plastic. Colours were jewel like purples, green and reds and some featured sparkly crystal ‘polka-dots’.
For the Yves Saint Laurent SS04 collection, inspired by the YSL archives, Tom Ford’s shoes were based on masculine brogues, transformed in sexy, delicate Yves Saint Laurent heels in black and white. Crystal encrusted versions featured for evening. Tom Ford did his first Yves Saint Laurent wedges for his last collection for the label, AW04. Made from jewel coloured purple velvet, classic black leather and rich Chinese inspired embroidered silks, they had open toes and slim wooded wedged heels.
Stefano Pilati’s first Yves Saint Laurent footwear and clothing collection saw ladylike suede pumps in green, purple and red suede with moccasin inspired tasselled fronts; white leather pumps with scalloped trims (and Yves Saint Laurent red soles) and silk heels in purple, pink, silver and gold some with oversize marabou feather pom poms on the toes. For AW05 the ladylike feel continued with grey and taupe suede loafer inspired heels featuring slim Yves Saint Laurent platforms and chunky heels. There were also chunky cut-out shoes with wooden soles and ankle straps, in dark plum leather. Other fabrics used were velvet and patent leather.
The YSL SS06 shoes were ‘demi-wedges’ with a sleek, futuristic feel and in metallic bronze, silver and khaki leathers and classic black. There were also strappy, ankle wrapping shoes in black leather and sinuous Yves Saint Laurent mules with bead encrusted heels. For AW06 YSL had high cut black patent leather pumps with wooden soles, crocodile skin Yves Saint Laurent pumps with geometric heels and patent strappy shoes, similar to SS06s but lower fitting. Evening shoes had peep toes and silver snake chain bands.
SS07’s shoes again featured crocodile skin, these had chunky straps, embossed detailing and sporty Velcro and mesh panels. Colours were camel, black and purple. There were also red suede and plastic version with multicolour suede trims. AW07 featured the sleek Yves Saint Laurent Charlotte pump with its mirror leather upper and triangular shaped wooden heel. Yves Saint Laurent evening shoes were simple mules in velvet and gold crackled ‘gilt’ leather.
SS08’s shoes were super delicate strappy confections featuring coloured YSL logos, oversized stars and geometric shapes. AW08 saw toweringly platformed Yves Saint Laurent Tribute shoes in crocodile and black leather with strappy, gold ‘tread’ soled evening shoes.
SS09 saw super sexy Yves Saint Laurent cage shoes with open sides, strappy toes, large square cut-out panels on the front and metal heels which were reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. AW09 featured masses of fetish inspired black leather and YSL shoes were sleekly shaped with delicate demi-wedges in crocodile, leather and embossed suede. Colours were raspberry, burnt caramel and green.
SS10’s Yves Saint Laurent collection embraced an “aesthetic paradigm of new minimalism” and featured sleek taupe and white Yves Saint Laurent platform heels alongside black python skin heels with subtle rose decorations on the back and red satin platforms with petal trims. AW10 saw the Yves Saint Laurent Palaise Mohawk suede pumps appear. In electric blue and black they featured spiked lines of horse hair running down the heels; mimicking the hair cut much loved of punks in the 1970s and 80s. There were also black patent wedges with delicate foot straps and plain suede platforms.
For SS11 YSL shoes were strongly sculptural with pointed backed, wing like wedges in gold with Grecian inspired gold leather and black suede foot wrapping uppers. There were towering, coloured snakeskin platform wedges and stepped wedges in classic black and dull gold. For AW11 shoes were once again loafer inspired with crocodile skin, tassel fronted wedges alongside brogue inspired shoe boot wedges with lace up fronts. There were also candy jewel studded black patent Yves Saint Laurent wedges, gold and wood Robyn wedges and sleek white wedges with wooden inserts.
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