The rumors turned out to, unfortunately, be true, Hedi Slimane is set to leave Saint Laurent. The heartbreaking news comes after weeks of speculations, but on April 1st it was official. The often celebrated and sometimes criticized Creative Director will end his relationship with the world-renowned French house after only four short-lived years.
“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,” said Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive and chairman of Saint Laurent owner Kering Group.
Pinault is fully aware that Slimane has created the fastest-growing line in the Kering portfolio, the departure is not just an emotional one but perhaps a financial risk as well. In 2015, Saint Laurent reported $1.14B in revenue, 38% from the previous year. So far, there has been no word of who will replace Mr. Slimane, but hearsay amongst the fashion crowds say it might be Anthony Vaccarello, no official word yet. Reasons for Slimane’s parting are also unconfirmed.
In his short time at the helm, Hedi Slimane rocked the foundation of YSL bringing both applause and controversy, his initial first step was to drop the “Yves” from the mega-brand, as a provocational statement – that the brand would never be the same – and judging by his immense impact, that statement will most undoubtedly hold true. He refused to work from Paris and placed his offices in Los Angeles – the city that is often misunderstood, ridiculed for its lack of fashion scene but spoiled to the core by its music and its accompanying lifestyle. And much like musicians, Slimane has become a living icon. Fashion has become far more democratic than ever before, and with the infinite amount of brands to choose from, fashion-savvy individuals hold an attachment to the designers and creatives behind the brand more than ever before, and that relationship has become an important attribute to any brand including fashion houses.
The heartfelt appreciation of Slimane by his followers, including this site, is unmeasurable. His absence will leave a void, empty of excitement until his next project. He is the glamorous rebel who made luxury, not attainable but made us realize that it was left for us to define. Four years, although short, reshaped attitudes and mindsets – it was divisive, but it led with unapologetic fervor. His last showing was a swan song. It returned Saint Laurent where it was founded but with a new spirit of youth, romance, and optimism, all at the upset of others. Four years was more than enough to leave an imperative legacy.
From all of us, merci beaucoup Monsieur Slimane.