Hedi Slimane’s tenure at Saint Lauren Paris has easily been the most controversial – as soon as he was appointed in March 2012, reporters and fashion press spoke endlessly about how the “grunge” look is disrespectful to the late and legendary Yves Saint Laurent. He changed the logo, moved the design studio from Paris to Los Angeles and started to refurbish the stores and such decisions that were viewed with suspicion. After looking into his design and details of his plan, journalist Alex Needham (for the Guardian) uncovers how Slimane’s work was actually deeply inspired by Yves Saint Laurent himself.
The womenswear collection – S/S 2013 and A/W 2013 have received the most critical attention and enraged the press. The S/S collection as it intended to reposition the brand at the intersection of youth culture, high fashion and art and the A/W collection as it was inspired by the 1940’s clothes and had a reference to the Nazi occupation of France. However, these were very much consistent with Yves’ principles: to question the nature of luxury and to mix street fashion with the extravagant techniques of haute couture.
I think it’s surprising that Slimane’s logo – Saint Laurent Paris in Helvetica type – was regarded so controversial and revolutionary, considering it was used on Yves’ ready to wear line and The Rive Gauche shop front and dates back to 1966. In fact, the famous YSL logo has not been disposed, it still appears on clothes and on banners for the fashion shows. The historic references to the iconic brand do not end here. Slimane introduced black tresse ouverte grosgrain ribbons, black boxes with agrain-de-poudre texture, and contrast of black matt and gloss on the label’s bags and boxes. These are inspired by the label’s legendary tuxedo, while the embossed rectangles on the packaging are modelled on art deco panelling in Yves’s rue de Babylone home.
Ain’t Laurent without Yves? I think not.