The epilogue to a captivating fashion month rich with leaks, rumors, and hushed revelations, today Hedi Slimane was officially named creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, where he will assume total creative responsibility for the brand, its image and all its collections. The news comes one year after informed speculation on Hint that caused a flurry of debate.
“Hedi Slimane’s exceptional talent and understanding of the spirit of Yves Saint Laurent heralds a promising new chapter in the story of the maison,” said Paul Deneve, Chief Executive Officer of Yves Saint Laurent. PPR chief François-Henri Pinault further praised the French designer: “As one of the most important French fashion houses, Yves Saint Laurent today possesses formidable potential which I am confident will be successfully harnessed and revealed through the vision of Hedi Slimane.”
The statement clearly stole the limelight on the last day of Paris Fashion Week, where LVMH’s Louis Vuitton staged a costly show complete with a vintage locomotive, inaugurating a museum exhibition tonight.
A cult figure in contemporary menswear, Slimane has been absent from the fashion calendar since his much-publicized departure from Dior Homme in 2007. He has since relocated to Los Angeles, where he’s devoted much of his time to photography, a professional and personal pursuit he’ll continue, according to the statement.
Slimane takes over for Stefano Pilati, who had a rather auspicious debut at the house, but over the years showed erratic collections that often read like over-intellectualized takes on the Saint Laurent legacy. But he has made the house profitable, thanks to successful accessories, particularly shoes.
Showing his first-ever women’s collection for YSL’s cruise line in June, Slimane has a lot to live up to, especially since he has always been regarded as a sort of heir apparent to Saint Laurent. Indeed, in a lengthy interview with Hint last year, he recalled fondly that Pierré Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent were his biggest supporters when he began his design career there in the 90s.
But above all, Slimane enjoys a large following of loyal fans who waited patiently during his five-year sabbatical. At the Lanvin party last week, a fellow journalist confided, “Do you know several of my male friends have already started saving up for Hedi’s first men’s collection at Yves Saint Laurent?”