Mood board: Whether or not this is Hedi Slimane's last show at Saint Laurent is still to be determined, but either way, this was a show that will be remembered. Having presented a hybrid of his men's and women's A/W 2016 ready-to-wear collection at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles last month, this was a far more intimate event whereby Slimane invited select guests into the house's 24, rue de l'Université couture salon for a haute couture show that harked right back to the heyday of Yves Saint Laurent.
Scene setting: Following Pierre Bergé's entry with Betty Catroux, the salon show began; but in the place of a thumping soundtrack Bénédicte de Ginestous announced the numbers of each look in both French and English, just as she did for Yves' couture shows between 1977 and 2002. As guests watched from their ballroom chairs, each engraved with their name on a plaque, Slimane's heavily maquillaged models walked the L'hôtel de Sénecterre's grand, curving staircase – the centrepiece of the 17th century, Saint-Germain-des-Prés mansion, of which Slimane personally oversaw the year-and-a-half long renovation.
Best in show: The 42 look collection celebrated the 1980s 'Saint Laurent girls' (as Slimane referenced in his show notes), their extreme shoulders dominating the silhouette, while the house pilgrim belt once again cinched the waist. A particularly fabulous purple fur was padded til its shoulders met ear level, just as sequinned black mini dresses fanned out skywards like a bad-ass bat's wings. The finale's heart shaped red fur jacket was the ultimate sign off, if in fact that is also the case for Slimane. Either way, he gave haute couture a youthful heart beat back at this historic house.