Tom Ford is very, very good at being wicked. The designer was in an adult-erotic frame of mind at Yves Saint Laurent, taking potential clichés such as black satin ribbon, taffeta, velvet, chantilly lace and fur and applying them in an offhand way to extravagant, body-emphasizing pieces that often looked as if they might fall off at the slightest pull of a bow. What, after all, could be more provocative than a woman wearing expensive clothes that look as if they were made to be undone by a lover?

The silhouette was an elaboration of the one he'd set at Gucci: a generous top and the tightest, rumpled, to-the-knee skirt, skinny pants, or the season's first genuinely chic knickers done in black velvet. This time he worked the volume into blouses and jackets with dropped shoulders and billowing eiighteenth-century sleeves—a device he used most gorgeously in a dark blue velvet coat with huge puffs, lace and mink embellishing the cuff. The show was full of amazingly detailed, sexily cut suits, fabulous coats and sweeping evening gowns delicately inserted with lace.

Ford did many riveting things with ribbons and bows. They recurred holding together the seams of a skirt, in a quilting pattern on a suede biker jacket, or as whole skirt made of strips of Chantilly lace. Best of all was a midnight blue velvet suit with a jacket slashed in the back, closed with a row of bows in black satin. It just may have been the most provocative look of the entire season.