Hedi Slimane

To change an image, first you destroy it. Only then can you rebuild: this is the lesson of fashion, and it is the lesson of Miley Cyrus. Who ever thought those two words would reside in the same sentence? My guess is Cyrus herself or her handlers. I think they figured this out long ago.

Sometimes I think over-protecting a brand may not, actually,be the best thing for the brand. Consider the news, making waves at fashion week, that Saint Laurent has decided to pull all its business from Colette, the Paris super-boutique so dear to the industry, because they are mad about it selling a brand-mocking T-shirt. The big, global company slaps down the little, independent boutique. So who looks like the bully here? It makes me wonder if they really weighed the public image consequences of their action. Read more

Yesterday Kering, the group-formerly-known-as-PPR, announced their Q1 results, and, as with rival LVMH, they were a little…slimmer than usual: up only 3.1% on a comparable basis and 1.0% on first-quarter 2012 (the luxury was up 6.4%, but the sports lifestyle side was struggling). To paraphrase the reaction: shock, horror, luxury slowdown! Except for one thing: the bright spot in the presentation was YSL. This is, of course, the first test of new creative director Hedi Slimane, and despite a large amount of angst surrounding his debut, at least on the part of the industry, he seems to have passed it pretty well. So how did everyone (except the guys who hired him) get it so wrong?  Read more

Getty Images

People in Paris are still arguing about Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent show, and whether it showed shocking disrespect for history or was a kind of fun wake-up call.

You can find out where I fall in my review, but in the meantime, I thought I’d pass on this picture, left, that a friend sent from a book on Mr Saint Laurent.

It’s from 1965, when the designer opened YSL Rive Gauche to sell ready-to-wear and said “boo!” to the couture system. The picture above right is Hedi Slimane’s collection. Can you really argue these things are unconnected? Read more

What’s up with YSL these days? Post-designer Hedi Slimane’s weird tweet rant at NYT critic Cathy Horyn, which came after her review of the on-line pictures of the show she wasn’t invited to (if you can follow the absurdity of that chain) the brand’s CEO has gotten in on the action. Yesterday YSL chief exec Paul Deneve wrote an “Open Letter” to WWD complaining about a story they wrote recently comparing Raf Simons’ Dior debut to Hedi Slimane’s at YSL. Mr Deneve didn’t think the WWD folks had been fair, he said, and they should stop trying to invent a rivalry that isn’t. At first glance, this seems like an executive kicking sand. But Machiavelli might have a different point of view. Read more

As you may (or may not) be aware, Hedi Slimane’s first YSL collections –
women’s resort and menswear — have hit the showroom, but they are for
buyers’ eyes only: they aren’t being shown on the catwalk, and this week
in Paris, critics (that would be your truly), were not invited for a
look-see. Mr Slimane wants to make his first knock-our-socks-off,
he-can-do-womenswear statement in the autumn, at the ready-to-wear shows.

(Also maybe he didn’t want the media making up a  face-off between
himself and new Dior designer Raf Simons, whose first couture show for the
House was the news of the week.) Read more

So, Yves Saint Laurent has confirmed that new YSL designer Hedi Slimane’s first rebranding of the company that Yves built involves….dumping the Yves! Albeit only from the ready-to-wear stores and labels.
 Read more

“2% of the population under 30, and 2% of the population under 40 are millionaires who are not being catered to by the men’s knitwear market,” So said Jean-Victor Meyers to me yesterday, explaining his new men’s cashmere business, which aims to change all that. Read more

Hedi Slimane, pictured in 2007. Getty Images.

So the expected has come to pass and today Yves Saint Laurent announced the appointment of Hedi Slimane as overall creative director of the house. This one has been a long time coming.

Mr Slimane was the much-feted men’s wear designer at YSL from 1996-2000 (even Mr Saint Laurent thought he was terrific).  He left after Tom Ford bought the brand for Gucci Group, and became the widely-praised designer of Dior Homme, departing over contract issues in 2007. During his tenure not only Bernard Arnault, LVMH chieftain, but pretty much every other LVMH executive wore his suits. Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld liked them so much, they inspired his dramatic 100lb weight loss in 2001 (in his diet book he wrote “I suddenly wanted to dress differently, to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane”).

Since leaving fashion, Mr Slimane has had a very successful career in photography, has been living in Los Angeles, and has been the subject of perennial suggestions that YSL get him back.

Satisfaction! Read more