Modern Living: Let the Costume Ball Begin

Wisdom is to be crazy when circumstances warrant it.

—Jean Cocteau

Along with Cocteau, the avant-garde French writer and film director whose aphorism he quotes frequently these days, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent may be fou like a fox. After years of beguiling women into austerely tailored pantsuits, now, in this cool age of less is more and casual is all, the world's most influential couturier has stopped the parade with a collection of high-camp peasant fashions that are impractical, fantastical and egotistical. They are also subtle, sumptuous, sensual and jubilantly feminine. The...

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