Ultimate comeback

Saint Laurent returns to couture for the first time in more than a decade
By Tempe Nakiska | Fashion | 28 July 2015
Photography Hedi Slimane

It was in 2002 that Yves Saint Laurent unveiled his final couture collection and now, 13 whole years later, the house has let go the news that not only will we shortly be treated with the line’s return but that we can already savour a taste of what’s to come with a special campaign giving a first look at Hedi Slimane’s new-look couture.

The couture collection is Slimane’s first for the house since his entry in 2012 and has been captured in a series of photographs taken at Hôtel de Sénecterre on Paris’ Left Bank, a 300-year-old mansion designed by the king’s architect, Thomas Gobert. Slimane has dedicated the past three years to redecorating the space with attention paid to 18th century period elements and principles of architecture (complete with chandeliers, and furniture taken from Slimane’s personal collection, plus the geometric garden, a recreation of the garden from the XVII-century archives).

The space will house Saint Laurent’s ateliers: including “L’Atelier Flou” for dressmaking and “L’Atelier Tailleur” for tailoring, both working in sync to produce specially commissioned, handmade pieces for stars and musicians, such pieces to be labeled with the hand-sewn couture ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ label in ivory silk. Each piece’s making and output will be traced in a gold book.

Saint Laurent Couture campaign, June 2015: The Yves Saint Laurent Couture House monumental staircase was built under Louis XV. Hedi Slimane comissioned New York artist Garth Weiser to paint a black and white diptych for the staircase. It was completed in 2014.

Couture is as intrinsic to the Saint Laurent DNA as is youthful rebellion, it was Yves himself who made waves at Christian Dior with his 1960 Beat collection for the house, mixing couture with cultural subversion in dedication to the Beatnik bent of the time. And in 1966, Saint Laurent would start a ready-to-wear revolt of his own, one that surges through to Slimane’s own interpretation of the house today. Just take those couture beaded souvenir jackets and bombers that shone out of the SS16 Surf Sound collection shown in June at Paris menswear: Slimane’s fusion of deep seated cultural cues and the highest-levels of construction is what continues to keep us magnetised to its every move. Proof that elevation – of quality, and context – remains vital to a flourishing fashion industry today.


JUNE 2015

Read Next