Saint Laurent Is Getting Back Into Couture, Without the Show

By approving orders on a case by case basis, Saint Laurent aims to offer something "more exclusive" than couture.
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Lauren Indvik
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By approving orders on a case by case basis, Saint Laurent aims to offer something "more exclusive" than couture.
Saint Laurent's two couture ateliers are located at the recently renovated Hôtel de Sénecterre in Paris. Photo: Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent's two couture ateliers are located at the recently renovated Hôtel de Sénecterre in Paris. Photo: Saint Laurent

In 2002, the late Yves Saint Laurent showed his last haute couture collection in Paris — and the company's couture business, by all accounts, has remained dormant ever since.

On Tuesday, Saint Laurent announced that it is dipping its toes back into couture, releasing a series of campaign images showcasing the house's recently renovated couture house, a project started not long after Hedi Slimane became creative director of the house three years ago. The building, originally constructed in 1685, is located at 24 Rue de l’Université in Paris's Left Bank, about a mile and a half's walking distance from Yves Saint Laurent's last couture house, which today functions as a museum.

There are two couture ateliers in the new building (officially called the Hôtel de Sénecterre), one for dressmaking, and another for tailoring. According to a person familiar with the company's inner workings, Saint Laurent has no plans to show at couture week in Paris in the near future. Slimane will decide which private clients may make orders "case by case," which "the House believes... is more exclusive than Couture," the source added.

In a press release, Saint Laurent said that the ateliers will also produce hand-made pieces for movie stars and musicians. Ever the involved manager, "Hedi determines which of these pieces will carry the atelier's hand-sewn couture label 'Yves Saint Laurent,'" the release also noted, and all orders will be kept by "strict record" in a gold monogram book. As with the rest of Saint Laurent's brand, Slimane takes its re-entry into couture very seriously.