The Parisian couture ended on a traditional note, with Yves Saint Laurent's poised presentation in the gilded salons of the Hotel Inter-Continental.

To the tune of a Verdi aria, Saint Laurent sent out impeccably proportioned pencil skirt tailleurs that revealed a masterful sense of color—an incendiary sunset-orange jacket, for example, was paired with a violet satin blouse and a black skirt. Russian-inspired coats followed, trimmed in sable and worn with hearty turtlenecks and massive fur hats. Cocktail hour incorporated every possible variation on the tuxedo: There was a button-front dress, a smoking jacket that morphed into a full tulle skirt, and, naturally, an updated version of the masculine tux immortalized by Helmut Newton in the '70s.

Saint Laurent's suggestions for evening, alas, felt a bit cumbersome. Light crepe gowns, jeweled jackets and satin skirts alleviated some of the heaviness, but, for the most part, black velvet dominated. If only the exquisite color combinations that opened the show could have been reworked for the finale.