More than a decade after it last showed a couture collection – by the company’s late founding designer – Yves Saint Laurent couture is to return, the house announced today. Guided by creative director Hedi Slimane, a 17th century mansion on Paris’s Left Bank has been chosen to house house three new couture ateliers, one of which will be dedicated to tailoring, providing menswear to accompany the women’s creations which were first launched by Yves in 1962.
The newly added line – the preview campaign also shot in the new Left Bank home – will be known as Yves Saint Laurent, distinguishing it from the Saint Laurent ready-to-wear line. In an indication that there will not immediately be a separate couture collection, Slimane will decide which pieces make the couture cut and will carry the Yves Saint Laurent label. There has as yet been no confirmation of the collections will be shown during Paris’s Haute Couture show schedule.
“Hedi began to recompose the traditional couture ateliers of the house in 2012,” the company revealed this morning to British Vogue. “The ateliers are now at the centre of the Saint Laurent project by Hedi Slimane. The ateliers also produce commissioned hand-made pieces for movie stars and musicians. Hedi determines which of these pieces will carry the atelier’s hand-sewn couture label ‘Yves Saint Laurent’. These couture pieces may be women or men, a tuxedo or an evening dress, daywear or eveningwear. The ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ private atelier label is made of ivory silk satin and is numbered by piece. The atelier keeps a strict record of all the couture pieces in a gold monogram book.”
Saint Laurent menswear has also became increasingly popular under Slimane’s tenure which began in 2012, and so the the announcement to include menswear in the couture offering makes commercial sense while no doubt adding more desirability to the brand. The Slimane-effect has seen the revenue of the house’s Saint Laurent ready-to-wear line increase 42 per cent last quarter on the same three months in 2014, an increase of 38 per cent for the full first half of 2015. Staggering, considering that these 2014 figures were already up by a similar percentage on the previous year.
Little did we know, the best was yet to come.
Mikael Jack – Fashion Features Editor