Some more recent recruits to the vintage redux game suggest that it’s never too early to look to the past. For instance, in his Edition 24 collection for Yves Saint Laurent, introduced in 2007 and billed as a seasonless range of wardrobe staples for traveling, Stefano Pilati revisited some of his first collections for the house, which he has helmed since 2004, and even re-created a silk T-shirt he had designed when he worked there under Tom Ford. (There are also interpretations of classic pieces by Saint Laurent himself, such as tuxedos and safari jackets.)
New this season is the Marni Summer Edition 2009 range, an amalgam of Consuela Castiglioni’s design signatures, including voluminous cuts and color blocks. “I am fascinated by the concept of clothes with a story, a memory, which makes them timeless and not necessarily pinned down to a specific style period or a single source of inspiration,” she says.
In accessories re-editions, Chanel re-created a classic Chanel bag from 1955 in 2005, and choices these days include Chanel’s Vintage bag, based on one Karl Lagerfeld did in the Nineties, and Nina Ricci’s oversize square sunglasses, which reinvent a style famously worn by Jackie Onassis to a tennis tournament in 1978.
Perhaps because fashion spins ever faster, designers often cite freedom as an aspect of re-editions they cherish, liberating them from the hamster wheel of constant change. “I’m a big believer in comfort not being the fit of a garment, but the familiarity,” says Marc Jacobs, whose one-shot Stephen Sprouse collection for Louis Vuitton this season, while consisting of all new designs, still speaks to the power of past styles. “Stephen did create some things that were very iconic. It reminds me of a moment in New York that, you know, I haven’t seen one like since.”
Ghesquière stresses that the pursuit of newness drives designers forward—and just might put them in the history books. “It’s a challenge for invention and creativity,” he says, “but everyone has the hope that a few of those things will last forever.”