Creative director Hedi Slimane leaves Saint Laurent

  |   03-04-2016


The news of Hedi Slimane leaving Yves Saint Laurent was confirmed in a brief joint statement issued by Yves Saint Laurent and Kering, the luxury group which owns the French brand. Slimane spent the last four years as creative and image director of Yves Saint Laurent. According to market reports, the designer and the company failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. Slimane’s existing contract expired at the end of March 2016.

It marks the end of the French designer and photographer’s second tenure at Yves Saint Laurent. Slimane joined the house in the ‘90s, moving from assistant in fashion marketing to designer, rebooting its Rive Gauche Homme collection. After exiting the label in 2000, he reportedly pursued negotiations to launch his own label with its parent company (then known as Gucci Group), before serving as creative director of Dior Homme from 2000 to 2007, where he became known for popularising the skinny silhouette that became his signature and was the first menswear designer to win the CFDA’s International Designer award. In July 2007, he relocated to LA in California to focus on photography, before returning to Yves Saint Laurent in 2012.

His arrival was a turning point for Yves Saint Laurent. The designer removed old products from stores, dropped “Yves” from the name of the label’s ready-to-wear collection and set up a new design studio in LA. Slimane’s creative vision extended to its advertising. He photographed the black-and-white campaign images of indie rock stars and models.

François-Henri Pinault chairman and chief executive officer of Kering said: “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.”

Francesca Bellettini, president and chief executive officer of Yves Saint Laurent, thanked Slimane for his “vision in reforming such an iconic house.” She added: “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.”

Saint Laurent is the fastest growing brand in the Kering portfolio. Slimane had achieved a lot so it will be a task to find the right replacement. Since taking the creative reins of Yves Saint Laurent in March 2012, Slimane’s edgy-but-wearable collections of biker jackets, skinny jeans and shoes styles like the Paris and Janis, have driven stellar results for the house. Last year, the business yielded €974 million (just over $1 billion) in sales revenue, up from €707 million in 2014. According to Sanford C. Bernstein, from 2012 to 2014, Saint Laurent revenues grew more than 20 per cent each year, outperforming the overall market for luxury goods.

It’s been suggested that Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello is set to step into Slimane’s shoes. According to a statement from the company, “A new creative organisation for the House will be communicated in due course.”