Saint Laurent

Conventional wisdom dictates that a spot in the Super Bowl (which is to say, an ad) is a highly desirable thing, given the game is watched by approximately 100 million people, give or take. And all those eyeballs on your product, be it Audi or Chrysler or David Beckham’s H&M undies, is an invaluable communications moment; hence the enormous cost ($4 million for 30 seconds) for a slot. So how much more lucrative would it be, theoretically speaking, to get your product on the halftime star – effectively free promotion (minus the cost of the garment, possibly)? It’s the equivalent of red carpet PLUS Super Bowl. It should be a mind-blowingly GIGANTIC in terms of marketing potential. So you can understand why Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent created a custom-made outfit – gold leather tux, black trousers – for Bruno Mars’ 12 minute half-time show at last night’s game (above left). What an advertisement! 

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. 

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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?