This was the last year that Yves Saint Laurent last showcased a couture collection created by the founder.
15 years later, and one new creative director later, Hedi Slimane, it has been announced that the fashion house is set again to return to couture. It has not yet confirmed whether it will show on schedule again, or just create bespoke creations for celebrities and clients in a similar way to Givenchy, but it did reveal that the pieces would be for both men and women.
“These couture pieces may be women or men, a tuxedo or an evening dress, daywear or evening wear,” the brand said in their statement, and no doubt will carry through their luxe feel to the brand, and of course exclusive. Each order will in fact be recorded in a “Monogram House Couture book held by the premier d’atelier flou,” the head of the workroom that specialises in drapery and cutting.
Not just any rich person can have a YSL Couture garment, in other words, only people Mr. Slimane approves can have one. As what the qualifications are to make the cut, well, no one knows. Though examples may be “certain looks worn at the Oscars, Cannes or for the stage,” the executive said.
Ivory silk satin with the atelier’s gold monogram are set to be the main feature behind this somewhat ambitious return, which only shows Mr Slimane’s vote of confidence for the company. However no intentions are set to attempt to revive Saint Laurent’s legacy in the wake of his death in 2008.
In truth, YSL founded by the legendary couturier (and then Dior protégé) in the early 1960 has actually blossomed since his death, doubling its revenue over the past three years. And despite aggravating previous clients when Slimane changed the label’s ready-to-wear moniker from “Yves Saint Laurent” to “Saint Laurent Paris, who deemed the move highly irreverent to its founder, sales have been on the increase this year. This suggests that this ‘rebrand’ doesn’t feel the need to define couture the way French fashion used to.
So it will be interesting to see how this turns out. Will positioning himself as the grand chieftain of deciding who gets to wear a YSL couture garment make Mr. Slimane, and his clothes, more attractive, or will it just make people turn away from the brand?
Given the incredibly seductive desire most of us have to be part of the fashion in-crowd, my guess is the former, though the second is always a possibility. As is the idea that quite soon, other brands might follow suit.
Pun fully intended.