Yves Saint Laurent has long been a brand you expect to see on the red carpet: From back in the day when Saint Laurent himself dressed ladies like Catherine Deneuve and Loulou de la Falaise; to Stefani Pilati's time at the house, during which he outfitted celebs like Tilda Swinton, Diane Kruger and Florence Welch in glam gowns.
But when Hedi Slimane took over, showing collections composed primarily of youthful, grungy, relatively casual pieces, we wondered if and how he'd continue the French fashion house's legacy of glamorous red carpet dressing.
After Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony, it's now clear: Saint Laurent has become the definitive source for cool-yet-elegant, well-tailored suiting -- for men and women alike. And not just musicians.
Oscars hostess and perennial pants-wearer Ellen Degeneres began working with Saint Laurent for her Oscar promotions back in January. And Sunday night, she wore three different tuxes custom-made for her by Slimane, each of which suited her wonderfully.
But she wasn't the only one. The brand also dressed Ellen Page, who looked kind of ridiculously cool (and Jared Leto-esque?) in a leather-accented look by Slimane (see top, second to left). Speaking of Leto, Slimane dressed him too (top, far right). Kourtney Kardashian also wore Saint Laurent suiting last night, to Elton John's after party, though the house did not publicize that it had formally dressed her. (It sent out press releases of every other celebrity it dressed). Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway and Lady Gaga have all worn Slimane's suits, and Miley Cyrus once wore a Canadian tuxedo by the designer, if that counts.
That Saint Laurent has become the go-to for red carpet suits under Slimane is natural. The designer made a name for himself with his slim suiting years ago while he was at Dior Homme and it looks like he won't be shaking that reputation anytime soon at the fashion house from which Le Smoking was born. While suiting for women has always been something that designers do on occasion, it's a consistent part of Slimane's repertoire, and perhaps it's becoming a more accessible -- and acceptable -- formal option for ladies who aren't in the mood for a gown.
That's not to say Slimane can't do a nice dress. Slimane's first major female red carpet moment came when Angelina Jolie wore a sweeping '70s-tinged black dress from Slimane's first collection from the house. His cocktail frocks have been seen on the backs of several starlets -- and last night, he also dressed Margot Robbie in a gorgeous (at least from the back, see above) black strapless number, and Sky Ferreira in a red dress. However, in terms of red carpet visibility, his gowns have yet to catch up to his tuxes.
But that can be a good thing in an industry where a lot more designers are doing gowns than formal suiting for women: It allows Slimane to set himself apart. Unsurprisingly, his spring 2014 collection was all about the suiting. Plus, the suit celebrity credits are potentially more effective in terms of driving sales: It's probably more likely that a normal (albeit well-off) person will go buy a blazer she saw on a famous person than an evening gown. Heck, you can buy one of Slimane's sequined tuxedo jackets for about $7,000 today if you want to.