A black carpet flanked by shirtless, sharply suited boys and girls led guests through Paris' Musée Rodin to an impressive black tent, dimly illuminated with fluorescent purple lights, where Tom Ford presented the most anticipated collection of the week. It's a perfect moment to update Saint Laurent's legacy: In a season devoted to powerful women, a new strong-shouldered le smoking, for example, is a must-have item. Throw a light, oversize coat over it, and the night is yours. Ford's new YSL woman also commands attention with sexy minidresses equipped with torso-hugging corsets and straps that twist around the body; others are short in front, with a square-cut panel trailing behind. And what about the street? Try the new generously cut, cropped trousers with a crisp white shirt tucked inside and billowed in the back.

Ford's strategy was a success because of its directness and simplicity. Very cleverly, Ford reinterpreted only a few essential Saint Laurent favorites—all in black and white—creating a strong, recognizable image for the house, and leaving considerable terrain to explore in the future.