But far be it from Mr Slimane to have shown his couture on the official schedule earlier this month: fashion’s favourite rebel instead released a statement announcing the comeback via a couture campaign – Rue de L’Université – that will appear in magazines next month. The designers’ inimitable black and white images feature male and female models inside the newly restored Saint Laurent headquarters on Paris’ Left Bank.
It’s all part of Hedi Slimane’s Reform Project, which began with his appointment as Creative and Image Director of the house in March 2012. The couture collection will be made in the meticulously restored atelier Hotel Senecterre, a 17th century edifice in the heart of Saint Germain. There, one–offs will be produced for both men and women, all given the iconic Yves Saint Laurent label in ivory silk. (Note the re-issuing of Yves, which Hedi Slimane dropped from the ready-to-wear line in 2012, causing much consternation from critics and the Yves faithfuls).
So who will be able to buy the collection if not shown on a catwalk in front of very rich potential couture clients? ‘Close friends of the house only,’ says the press release. In other words, Mr Slimane will decide. Presumably these friends of the house are the celebrities – band members, actors – who line the front rows of his ready-to-wear shows? Couture by its very nature is exclusive, but no other house’s creative director has such control over who, ultimately, wears it. It is worth mentioning here that in the same statement, Kering, Saint Laurent’s parent company, announced positive first-half revenue growth of 385 and sales in directly operated stores also up more than 25%. Subtext: So long as Hedi’s Saint Laurent is profitable, he can do what he likes.
Saint Laurent a/w 2015
So what can the chosen few expect from Mr Slimane’s couture? Clean lines, slinky black, strict tuxedos… A strict record of who gets what will be kept, confidentially, of course, in a gold monogram book.