After being at the helm of Saint Laurent for four years, Hedi Slimane bid farewell to the vanguard of fashion as its creative and image director.
I would like to thank Hedi Slimane very much for his vision in reforming such an iconic House as Yves Saint Laurent. The direction that has been taken over the last four years represents an incredible foundation for the Brand to build on for its continuous success – Francesca Bellettini, President and CEO of Yves Saint Laurent
Slimane has a history of redefining the meaning of the designer houses he was in control of from Dior to Saint Laurent. During his tenure at Saint Laurent, Slimane made poignant changes through his unconventional methods that have redefined the way the fashion world views the fashion house. Indeed, Slimane has left behind his legacy by (1) expelling the “Yves” from Yves Saint Laurent, (2) renewing the house’s’ couture, reintroducing the rocker chick, (3) blurring the gender lines by introducing unisex silhouettes and (4) vacating the house to Los Angeles.
So what do all these modifications boldly imposed by Slimane for French house?
1. Vexing the forename “Yves” and changing the font to appear more bold and modern was not only a tribute to Yves himself, but it was also symbolic of the new creative control of the house, according to Slimane.
“Historically, Yves decided with Pierre in 1966 to name his revolutionary ready-to-wear ‘Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. It was for him a distinctive sign of modernity and a drastic change from the Couture label. Rather than ‘dropping the Yves’ the restoration of a spirit of Couture was intended a few years down the line. With the House now completed, the two names exist as they always did historically, next to the monogram designed by the artist Cassandre.” – Hedi Slimane Yahoo Interview 2015
Slimane’s renewal of YSL’s Couture after a decade was a significant step for the label. The new and improved collection was worn by Slimane choice of the fashion world’s crème de la crème. The new collection was housed in a couture salon in Paris at 24 Rue de l’Université.
2. Reviving the ‘Rocker Chic’ was another surprise from Slimane to the fashion world; something he was highly praised and criticized for. Inspired from the icons like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards aesthetics, Slimane introduced the rock ‘n’ roll style to the label. His vision to include the aesthetics and keep up with the young and edgy style of the youth subculture was also seen during his time at Dior Homme and continued the vision over to Saint Laurent.
3. The label was reputed for pioneering the infusion of men and women’s fashion to empower women with the slim-tailored jackets, blazers, and wide-cut pant legs. Slimane is also well known for blurring the gender lines from his tenure at Dior. The substantial precedent already set by Yves was continued by Slimane, which became another successful milestone for the label for his innovation into blurring the gender lines with unisex silhouettes.
4. Slimane’s move to Los Angeles was a profound empowerment the label.
“The city of Los Angeles was for me a perfect observatory of popular culture and inspiring subcultures…The influence of California is now at so many levels besides the entertainment industry. – Hedi Slimane
Hedi Slimane: The Steve Jobs of Fashion – The Harvard Business Review
Hedi Slimane’s creative intelligence served Saint Laurent well through his holistic reforms while the original visions of Yves Saint Laurent had for his label was kept alive.
Read FIB’s ode to Yves Saint Laurent in MASTERS OF FASHION Vol 37