With his third runway show for Yves Saint Laurent, Alber Elbaz finally hit the target with a controlled collection that proved a strong modern take on the house's timeless chic. Elbaz elongated and chiseled the classic proportions of the trademark boxy jackets and pencil skirts, and showed them with black glove-leather shirts with matching narrow ties--a cool, modern spin for the classic YSL suit. With satin revers on an overscale man's Crombie coat, he also gave a contemporary twist to "le Smoking."

Moving away from the house's enduring '40s references, Elbaz's models wore their hair in severe French twists and stalked the runway in vicious stiletto-heeled shoes. Tabard coats and dresses, worn over skinny rib knits, and a trio of priestly black jersey robes, allowed Elbaz to express his austere side.

Leaving grand soir statements to the master himself and the haute couture collection he continues to design, Elbaz sent out only short, after-dark looks for his finale. Classic metallic lace looked chic again, in long-sleeved midi dresses styled with hip-slung crocodile belts and wrinkled '70s cavalier boots. Great-looking tarnished brass lamé suits with black chiffon blouses, body-skimming cocktail dresses in black slipper-satin, and entrance-making flapper dresses—solid with brilliant silver bugle beads—were followed by a final stylish take on a YSL classic—the sheer black chiffon blouse with a skirt made entirely of ostrich feathers.