And another one bites the dust! After many months of speculation, it was announced on Friday that Hedi Slimane will be exiting from Saint Laurent after just four years as its creative and image director.
Kering CEO, Francois-Henri Pinault said via statement that, “What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the house. He also showed his gratitude, “to Hedi Slimane, and the whole Yves Saint Laurent team, for having set the path that the house has successfully embraced, and which will grant longevity to this legendary brand.”
Although news of Slimane’s departure didn’t come as a total shock, we are no less sad to see him go. The designer was relatively unknown before he took control in 2012. Encouraged by the brand’s parent company to makeover its image, Slimane dropped the “Yves” from “Yves Saint Laurent.” This controversial move signified a major shift in collections to come; his first for the house, a study in California cool, immediately brought the YSL woman back to the height of modernity. Slimane injected a glam, rock-n-roll sensibility into the newly minted Saint Laurent- with sparkly mini dresses, 70’s platforms, and that oh-so perfect leather biker jacket as its must have items. His edgier aesthetic spurred from his love for Los Angeles and its music scene (he would later move Saint Laurent’s company headquarters from Paris to the West Coast capitol); it also proved to be a great success in the retail sector, with many a millennial desperate for his ease of styling and paired down essentials.
Slimane ended his tenure at Saint Laurent with a bang. During Paris Fashion Week, he staged a rather elaborate couture show within the house’s original atelier on the Left Bank. This collection, which proved to be his last, included clever renditions of Le Smoking and fabulous, 80’s-era volumes. Later, an ad campaign starring style-icon Jane Birkin and another with supermodel Cara Delevingne were released in Slimane’s signaure black-and-white.
In many designer, house separations, it can take several seasons before an official replacement is found. In this case, however, one was decided by Kering earlier today: Anthony Vaccarello. His sexy cuts and sharp tailoring, skills he refined at Versus Versace as well as his own label, will make the up-and-coming designer a perfect successor to Slimane.
Hedi Slimane is just one in a line of many who have made the difficult decision to leave their posts- Raf Simons, Alexander Wang, and Alber Elbaz have all split with their respective houses earlier in the year. This vicious cycle of designer musical chairs shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, leaving much to be determined over the future of these behemoth corporations.