YSL

It’s almost a cliché now that you wait years for a fashion film and then two come along at once. It happened with two Chanel films in 2009, and now this year two YSL biopics are going head to head.

First up is Yves Saint Laurent which opens in the UK on Friday. Starring Pierre Niney as Saint Laurent, it’s the one that has the co-operation of the designer’s long-term boyfriend and civil partner Pierre Bergé, and director Jalil Lespert was therefore able to work with the Pierre Bergé-Saint Laurent Foundation. And the other? Saint Laurent, set for release in October and directed by Bertrand Bonello, has been backed by François Henri-Pinault, head of Kering, which has OK’d use of the fashion house’s logo and designs. Bergé has slammed the project on Twitter and said he wants to ban it. Read more

Seems to me the big question hovering over Apple and Tim Cook – should they or should they not introduce a cheaper iPhone next month, perhaps for the China market? – is actually obvious, or would have been so to Mr Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs. Yes, they should, and it shouldn’t necessarily be for China. Or not just for China. Why do I think this? Fashion, my dear Watson.

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So after the Louboutin vs YSL tangle over the use of red soles, we have Thomas Pink vs Victoria’s Secret over the use of pink. See, Pink likes to refer to itself as…well, PINK. And VS, since 2001, has had a secondary line aimed at tweens and 20somethings called (under 32 different trademarks, including “Pink Beach,” “Aolha Pink” and “Oh what fun is Pink”) VS Pink. And therein lies the conflict.

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Finally, some female executives at fashion brands. Yesterday Kering named Francesca Ballettini CEO of Yves Saint Laurent and then Lanvin announced Michèle Huiban was being promoted to CEO from the deputy general manager spot. This practically doubles the number of female CEOS in fashion. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s also a valid generalisation.
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After Dolce & Gabbana, after LVMH & Hermes, now we have…Kering and Nicolas Ghesquière! Yup, the French Group is suing their former designer for saying bad things about them. Is it a smart move? I wonder. And who will really come out of it the winner? Depends how you define caring, I guess. 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

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Are semi-obscure male celebrities the most effective way to sell men’s scents? I have to assume the answer to this question is yes, because otherwise why would brands spend what must be a significant amount of money signing up so-so male celebrities to front their cologne campaigns? (Celebrities do not come cheap these days, as sic Lisa Jacobson at United Talent Agency. They all see “ambassador” roles as a prime source of secondary income).

After all, news comes today that Australian actors Eric Bana, left, and Simon Baker, below are fronting, respectively, the new Bulgari and Givenchy men’s scent campaigns. Recognise them? Read more

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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? Read more

I greeted my colleague Richard Waters’s column today on the new mini Ipad – Apple’s equivalent of a mini-clutch – with a roll of the eyes. Not because it demonstrates yet another way in which the tech giant is mimicking the fashion world (by filling out their accessory offering), but because a recent experience has me thinking that maybe Apple has not learned its fashion/luxury lesson as well as this might suggest. Read more

Anyone in doubt of the rising prominence of the men’s wear market, take note: super-dapper designer Stefano Pilati, who was rather unceremoniously dumped as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent just before his runway show last season, has found a new job as creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona. It’s new role for the group, and it’s being announced with much hoo-ha. As well it should: it signals both an aggressive move to up their menswear designer profile, and a potential big move in womenswear. 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

Prada CEO: “We don’t want to be a brand that nobody wants to copy.” This is a quote from an interview Patrizio Bertelli, aka Mr Prada, gave yesterday to Bloomberg TV, and it is probably going to set off something of a hoo-ha in fashion, which has of late become very publicly litiginous when it comes to copying. 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

Today Burberry’s new aviator-style eyewear collection is out — as well as a new song and video from UK band One Night Only. Coincidence? Not likely. The song and video was commissioned by the fashion brand, is available first on Burberry’s facebook page and then iTunes, and features front man George Craig modelling — you guessed it! — Burberry eyewear. Could this be the first step down a slippery slope that will lead to fashion moving in to more formal production roles?  Read more

It never rains but it pours, and so on. In those terms, this month the fashion world is experiencing a deluge. After the departures of Stefano Pilati and Raf Simons from YSL and Jil Sander respectively, and the expected departure of Derek Lam from Tods at September and the end of his contract, come two more announcements: Lucy Yeomans is leaving as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK and Amanda Brooks has left as fashion director of Barneys New York. This is, as they say, a moment of change.
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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

The freezing winter winds are now upon us, which means fashion’s spring/summer ad campaigns are about to launch, and the excited sneak peek emails have been coming thick and fast. The most recent comes from the house of Dior, who have signed Mila Kunis, the 28 year old actress from Black Swan, as their new “face.” Here’s my first reaction (and I liked her as an actress): groan.

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OK, John Galliano made her actual wedding dress, which was pretty, but also pretty unsurprising (inspired by the beautiful and damned Zelda Fitzgerald, who was also the theme of Kate Moss’s famous 30th birthday celebration). But – and this a big But — Stella McCartney made six – count ‘em! – dresses for the Kate Moss wedding extravaganza that began yesterday and is continuing through the weekend. Now, who do you think is going to get the most press pictures sent round the world, and thus the most profits?
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I was struck this morning by the news that Ron Johnson, head of retail at Apple, is becoming CEO of JC Penney. He’s the third fashion CEO I’ve heard of that got his start at Apple, and learned according to The Book of Jobs. Think that’s a coincidence? I don’t.

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This morning PPR revealed YSL CEO Valerie Hermann was leaving the company, but would not say where she was going. Well, this afternoon, the answer was revealed: Reed Krakoff. Read more