Hedi Slimane Exits Saint Laurent Paris

April 1st 2016, Kering announces the departure of Hedi Slimane. After four years leading the artistic direction and the rebranding of Saint Laurent Paris, Slimane quits his position leaving the throne of creative director empty.

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Two big fashion houses are now left orphan, as we still don’t know who is going to take the position of Artistic Director at Dior, since Raf Simons let the company last October. Kering on the contrary said that the new creative director will be revealed in the following weeks.

“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 François-Henri Pinault, Chief Executive officer of Kering

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Abbey Lee Kershaw shot by Hedi Slimane

A lot of rumors were spread these past few weeks about Slimane’s prospective departure, and the fashion media all agreed that Saint Laurent‘s last AW16/17 show was like a finale, a nice way to say goodbye; but the French luxury brand denied the rumor until the end.

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Saint Laurent AW16/17

Since Hedi Slimane’s bold rebranding of YSL in 2012, the fashion house changed their whole strategy, attracted more consumers all over the world, and doubled their turnover. However, it was probably time for Slimane to step out. In fact, the creative director has of course brought benefit to the brand in many ways, but he also caused some scandales, that were definitely not good for Saint Laurent’s image. Whether on the runway or in advertising campaigns, all the models chosen under Slimane’s tutelage were, according to the media, way too skinny.

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Saint Laurent Spring 2015 campaign
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Saint Laurent Spring 2016 campaign

With that said, it is true that Yves himself, was at the origin of many controversies in his time. For instance, we all remember how scandalous the 1971 collection « Liberation » was, and it was not the first time the iconic designer shocked the public opinion. In that way, Hedi was just following in the co-founder’s footsteps.

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1971 – Yves Saint Laurent’s Liberation collection

So who’s next? The Business Of Fashion is betting on the Belgium designer Anthony Vaccarallo, who could be a good choice to replace Slimane and sooth the scandales a little.

Written by Amina Sutter

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