A few months ago, it would have been unthinkable to open a YSL Rive Gauche show with photos of the legendary couturier on loan from his own foundation, what with all the bad blood between Saint Laurent and star designer Tom Ford.
But Ford is gone and his former right-hand man Pilati has taken his place. For his YSL debut, the Italian chose to stage a low-key showroom presentation in the building next door to Saint Laurent's former couture house.
In a sign of new beginnings, Saint Laurent's longtime business partner Pierre Berge ? never one of Ford's big fans ? showed up to encourage Pilati for his debut effort, which was as elegant as the designer himself.
For spring-summer 2005, Pilati reinterpreted the sleek, dashing 1970s Saint Laurent look as captured in photographs of the French designer taken by Helmut Newton and Jean-Loup Sieff.
The 38-year-old Italian designer, pleased with the well-received remembrance of things past, said humbly: "I want to work to establish the label, not myself."
Times have indeed changed since the superstar Ford left YSL and Gucci. Even YSL chairman Mark Lee said he was happy, "as is the rest of the house, to have someone who is 100 percent devoted to the label."
At Givenchy, Boateng reconciled the house's past and present with a wink and a nod, starring in a cartoon film that was part old-school, part manga to explain how a London tailor found himself in a Paris couture house.
Surrounded by hundreds of women dressed in couture gowns, the 36-year-old British designer says at one point in the film: "I understood that you can't fight history, you just have to go with it."
For the house's first-ever menswear catwalk show since creating Givenchy Homme in 1973, Boateng tried to define the wardrobe of the quintessential "French gentleman", one that would make women swoon.
The answer could be a light gray flannel redingote over a double-collared shirt and denim trousers. Jaunty print caps ? a caricature of the Parisian man ? were worn with flair, especially when they complemented shirts.
Boateng put his Saville Row training on display with crisp pinstripe suits, but offered up a bit of whimsy with a lilac sweater over raspberry trousers.
At Christian Dior, Hedi Slimane did not stray from his successful formula of making the suit the centerpiece of his collections, showing short jackets over vintage checkered shirts or a relaxed tank top and low-waist trousers.
Next summer, the Dior man will be a 21st century, laid-back rock-and-roll version of the Little Prince with hair dangling in his face, in floral shirts with ragged sleeves and a wrinkled linen scarf carelessly tied around his neck.
Slimane's female clients will jump on his pink and green leather spencers with black lapels. Guys with a penchant for leather jackets will not be disappointed.
On Sunday, Britain's Paul Smith sent out a collection fit for a rebellious 1970s school boy, with models in brightly colored floral shirts, tight-fitting trousers, loose ties and scarves ? parading down a catwalk stacked with books.
For those who don't love flowers, Smith included plenty of stripes ? albeit jumbled up and in sorbet shades.
The British designer served up a bit of ethnic flair with psychedelic multi-coloured jackets and giant colourful satchels edged in mirror work.