A Cautionary Tale at YSL

The Hollywood Reporter is, well, reporting that Hedi Slimane swung by the YSL boutique on Rodeo Drive and fired the manager “on the spot” when he didn’t recognize the maison’s new creative director. The subtext of the piece is pretty clear, that Slimane’s action was unjust and uncalled for.

But hold on. Before you go thinking Slimane is the Leona Helmsley of Beverly Hills, consider this: firing someone on the spot would be very out of character for him. If the manager was terminated, it most likely happened later in the day and handed down by the manager’s direct supervisor. Even if we’re wrong and Slimane indeed sent him packing, would that be so terrible? It’s hard to imagine any store manager, a frontline ambassador of the brand, not recognizing the house’s new boss, even if, as THR observes, “it isn’t like he’s Karl Lagerfeld or Marc Jacobs.”

It was major news when Slimane was appointed creative head of the label earlier this year. And, given that Slimane is based in L.A., a first for a major European house, the Beverly Hills store is an especially important outlet to communicate the brand’s (new) message to customers. Unless he was disguised in a wig and sunglasses, he should have been spotted blocks away.

Apparently the store is now looking for a new manager. We imagine there are plenty of qualified candidates with the retail realness to do the job.

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