YSO - fall/winter 2001

Fashion got a taste of high-art enigma on April 10, with “Les Promeneuses” (The Walkers), a collaborative multi-media installation. YSO presented its Fall/Winter 2001 collection to the video projection stylings of visual artist Claude Ferland. “Peculiar landscapes” provided a lavish backdrop to a fierce runway production at la Société des Arts Technologiques (S.A.T.).

YSO, the brainchild of Canadian designer Siphay Southidara, was formed in 1999. With a philosophy grounded in multi-disciplinary analysis, Southidara won the Grand Prix Canadien Smirnoff in 1994. YSO’s company mission is to offer a middle to high-end ready-to-wear collection for women, with plans to expand into menswear and accessories. Judging by the diverse swatch of glitterati at the show, Southidara has found a niche; poetically orchestrated contrast forms spatial relationships that chic Montrealers want to wear.

The dreamwalkers…

Architect Buckminster Fuller realized that an ocean wave is only a visible, physical displacement caused by an unseen metaphysical wave. This concept is germane to YSO’s working method. Black/sepia/tawny combinations with taffeta-ribbed filament stitching project an underlying musical influence. We see unconventional cummerbunds and high-waisted skirts facilitating a mobile dissolution of the waistline. A black bustier laced to pants accomplishes this nicely, as well. YSO makes its awe of the female body quite apparent by choosing to highlight natural contours with draping techniques, not masking them behind restrictive cropping.

Bias-cut is the locus of the collection. The bias-cut, jagged hemlines on YSO’s transparent chiffon dresses have a custom look, revealing meticulous hand-tailoring. The combination of hounds-tooth tweed and transparent nylon fabrics within outfits delineates an open-minded Québecois sexuality; layered wool ruching is gathered at the rear and at the loin. There are some remarkable ensembles, including a mauve one-piece extending to jupe with subtle ochre stitchwork. A dolman-sleeved dress with a gold-trimmed slit skirt is not to be outdone by salt-and-pepper wool blend pants with chiffon top and purple cummerbund. The collection is well-accessorized. Matching spats accompany nearly every outfit. While some fabrics themselves seem to lack stamina, the superior couture exhibits a rare, personalized commitment to resourcefulness on the part of Southidara. The credit is truly his own. I had the opportunity to speak with musical team OHNE, responsible for a live and sampled performance. Antoine Bédard had this to say, on the topic of fashion and music.

“The multi-media experience is about collage and synchronicity. Like YSO, we need to be self-recycling.”

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer