PARIS — The most urgent gossip this Paris Fashion Week has centered on Hedi Slimane, the press-averse designer of Saint Laurent, whom the rumor mill has decreed is imminently leaving Saint Laurent.
So it was with cresting anticipation, and no degree of certainty, that a winnowed-to-the-majors crowd on Monday night approached the Hôtel de Sénecterre, the 17th-century hôtel particulier on the Rue de l’Université that Mr. Slimane had spent one and a half years restoring to be the new home of Saint Laurent Couture. (The collection, called La Collection de Paris, was, however, not couture, label reps said.)
The show had been trimmed from its usual proportions to a more intimate size, and was one of the week’s hardest tickets to get.
In came the curious and the Saint Laurent faithful. In salons throughout (the Grand Salon and the Petit Salon de Couture, the Salon de Musique) and in a row unfurled beside the grand staircase, editors and industry stalwarts sat.
The most important guests were seated in the Salon d’Honneur on the first floor: Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent’s longtime partner, with two of Mr. Saint Laurent’s muses, Betty Catroux and Catherine Deneuve; Azzedine Alaïa and his constant companion, Carla Sozzani of 10 Corso Como; Anna Wintour with Wendi Deng (a surprising, recurrent presence this Paris Fashion Week).
Squeezed behind were some of the young “friends of the house” Mr. Slimane makes a point to invite: models, rockers (real and would-be) and the like. Saskia Lawaks, one of the many photographers on hand, was snapping at each of them, like a blondish girl in a beret and clown-print T-shirt who was on the arm of the young model Lily McMenamy. Who was the friend? “Oh, I don’t know,” she said with a shrug. “The cool kids.”
They were easily identifiable with their dyed hair and vintage jackets, baseball caps and chic ennui. Snippets of their conversation were easy to pick out among the chatter.
“I live in Bushwick,” one young Brooklynite said from somewhere just behind one row.
“Does the tube still go there?” a French-accented voice replied.
The evening was overwhelming in many ways: In the over-the-top vintage excess of the collection’s furs and paillettes, a spectacle of conspicuous consumption so fabulous as to border on the obscene; in the chaotic scramble to find and claim one’s seat, identified not by a number or a section but only by a tiny gold nameplate screwed discreetly onto each chair; but most of all, by the silence of the show once it began.
Mr. Slimane is known for light-and-noise spectaculars, with twirling displays and earsplitting rock ’n’ roll. The only noise of this show was the voice of Bénédicte de Ginestous calling out each of the 42 looks by number, as she had done for Yves Saint Laurent’s couture shows from 1977 to 2002, and the click of high heels as each model made her perilous way to and then down the stone stairs.
(“Look up! Up!” the photographers, crammed into a balcony above, begged each model as she descended, eyes cast downward and banister gripped for balance, and rewarded those who did with “Bravo!”)
At the end, there was only more silence. Mr. Slimane did not appear, and the backstage door was blocked to the journalists who lined up, hoping for a word. (Only Mr. Alaïa broached the barricade.) Asked whether this collection would be Mr. Slimane’s last, a label spokeswoman said serenely, “I don’t know.”
So the week’s biggest question hung unanswered in the air, and the crowds dispersed, joking as they went about making off with their name-plated chairs.
“I’ll put wheels on it and go,” said Olivier Zahm, the roué editor of Purple magazine.
Mademoiselle Agnès, a French TV presenter in an elaborately beaded coat, did one better. She hoisted her chair off the ground (“It’s my chair,” she said in French) and made to leave.
The impulse was understandable. Whether Mr. Slimane leaves or stays, it was a night to remember, and souvenirs were in short supply.
An earlier version of this article misstated the length of time Hedi Slimane had spent restoring the Hôtel de Sénecterre. It was one and a half years, not three years.