Speculation over Hedi Slimane leaving Saint Laurent has been swirling around the fashion circuit for months, and now, they have finally been confirmed. Saint Laurent’s parent company, Kering, announced the news in a press release published on their site on Thursday evening.
This isn’t Slimane’s first time leaving Saint Laurent either. The designer was the label’s ready-to-wear director of men’s collections from 1997 to 1999, before leaving to join Dior Homme. He returned to Saint Laurent as creative and image director in March 2012.
Slimane will go down in the house’s history as the designer who rebranded the storied label with rock ‘n’ roll cool and transformed its revered codes. The designer also stirred controversy when he dropped the “Yves” in Yves Saint Laurent (a decision that was in fact inspired by a ready-to-wear line launched in 1966 as Saint Laurent Rive Gauche – the name was changed again after Saint Laurent retired), and relocated the brand’s design studio to Los Angeles, where he is based.
His sleek, sexy grunge-inspired designs have also been credited for doubling Saint Laurent’s business and garnering a younger consumer base for the brand, in spite of negative reviews by critics. In 2015, he announced the revival of Saint Laurent’s couture arm, which was shut down in 2002. He definitely delivered, showing 42 couture looks at Paris Fashion week last month instead of ready-to-wear, as a counterpart to the men’s Fall 2016 and women’s Pre-Fall collections.
In the press statement, Kering CEO and chairman Francois-Henri Pinault said, “What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the House. I am very grateful 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.”
So, what’s next? Anthony Vaccarello, the Italian-Belgian designer who’s currently creative director of Versus Versace, is rumoured to be Slimane’s successor, though Kering and Saint Laurent have only revealed that “a new creative organisation for the House will be communicated in due course”.
Guess we’ll just have to sit back, relax and wait for the pieces in this fashion-chess game to fall. In the meantime, click through above for Slimane’s greatest hits at Saint Laurent.
Photo: TPG Images and Saint Laurent
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