Yves Saint Laurent must be turning in his grave right now, and Pierre Berge will likely be in a grave soon, as a result of the announcement that Yves Saint Laurent is going to become just Saint Laurent. Hedi Slimane is clearly not interested in quietly taking over there and continuing the legacy of this legendary designer. His plans obviously involve making his mark loud and clear, including this ridiculous name change. This reminds me of Alexander McQueen’s takeover at Givenchy, when he said that he had no respect for the founding designer.
The difference is, McQueen turned out to be a quite a good designer. Slimane, on the other hand, makes slim suits and takes repetitive rock’n'roll style fashion photos. I’m not a fan of Slimane, and I was not pleased when I heard he was replacing Pilati, so this recent news confirms my thoughts that this is a very big mistake.
Why would Slimane change the name of the brand? And why would he choose to design the collections from a studio in Los Angeles? Is he a control freak, that insists everything must be done his (bizarre) way? Or is he just plain stupid? Someone on Twitter compared moving the YSL design studios to LA to moving Armani to Atlanta, which sounds about right.
While I understand that any designer newly appointed to direct a legendary brand will want to find a way to make it “theirs,” this has gone too far. The media is up in arms, and it will take a mighty impressive debut collection from him to get them back on side. I don’t think he has it in him. I think this is going to be an epic fail, and in less than two years, YSL will become YSL once again, and will be back in the hands of a non-control freak, non-stupid designer who will respect the history of the brand.
If Slimane is so desperate to stay in LA, perhaps he should consider a job at Juicy Couture?
p.s. I shall take this moment to thank the fashion gods that Slimane was not appointed creative director at Dior, as rumours suggested. What would he have done? Renamed it “Di” and moved the design offices to Birmingham?
According to this article by The Cut, Pierre Berge is apparently happy about the changes Hedi Slimane is making. But judging by the article and his tone, he sounds like a fairweather supporter, I’m guessing he will “hate” it all in a few months.