PARIS — If the move of Yves Saint Laurent’s creative studio from Paris to Los Angeles seems heretical to the notion of French fashion, think again. The biggest supporter of Hedi Slimane’s surprising move is none other than the late couturier’s outspoken partner, Pierre Bergé.
Not only that, Bergé told WWD he’s delighted with other changes Slimane is making, many of those designed to bring the house back to many of its iconic roots.
Eager to recapture the energy surrounding the mythic designer’s thrust into ready-to-wear in 1966, Slimane, the house’s new creative steward, plans to use the same fonts, and similar nomenclature, from that era.
The rtw line, originally called Saint Laurent Rive Gauche when the first boutique opened at 21 Rue de Tournon on Sept. 26, 1966, will now be called Saint Laurent Paris.
The Yves Saint Laurent name will continue to be used for “institutional” purposes, and the YSL logo — a French cultural icon and a feature on an array of products, from shoes to lipsticks — will remain intact in its original version.
The logo, by the French graphic designer known as Cassandre, was created in 1961, the same year Yves Saint Laurent and Bergé founded the couture house.
The retro branding is expected to be introduced in the coming months, and should be in place by the time Slimane’s first designs for Saint Laurent, for the spring 2013 season, hit the selling floor.
YSL in March appointed Slimane to succeed Stefano Pilati at the creative helm, giving him “total creative responsibility for the brand image and all its collections.”
Reached on Thursday, Bergé applauded the back-to-the-roots move, and said Slimane had telephoned him several weeks ago to apprise him of the changes.
“I’m very happy. Anything that makes the house more Saint Laurent is welcome,” he told WWD. “I am happy that Stefano Pilati is gone, just as I was happy when Tom Ford left.”
The business titan also rallied behind Slimane’s decision to base YSL’s creative studios in Los Angeles, where he has lived and pursued a career in commercial photography since 2007.
In Bergé’s estimation, if a designer is to be in tune with his times and the street, he is better off studying Melrose Avenue than Avenue Montaigne in Paris. He argued Americans are more in tune with modern lifestyles, while the French are still in thrall to a “démodé” fashion system based on couture and mythic “chic Parisians.”
“The creative studio is in a designer’s head, it resides within the person,” he said. “Hedi lives in Los Angeles. He should be left to do fashion in a city he likes.”
Slimane is also said to be working on new store concepts for YSL.
His first designs — a women’s resort collection and a men’s spring 2013 collection — are to be unveiled to buyers only. The showroom is scheduled for June 28 to July 4 at the Grand Palais here, as reported.
The designer, who electrified men’s fashion during his seven-year stint at Dior Homme, came to international attention as the designer of YSL Rive Gauche Homme in the late Nineties.
Although he has remained mum on his intentions for the new YSL, Slimane seems to be applying the same exacting, 360-degree approach to the brand that he displayed during his Dior Homme years.
Slimane intends to make his first major fashion statement at the storied house this fall when he presents the women’s spring collection on the runway during Paris Fashion Week, scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 3.
Rumor has it he has already begun casting for the show, and has secured exclusives on some models. He is also widely expected to photograph YSL campaigns himself.
@deciem is all about transparency and approachability. At this year’s WWD Digital Beauty Forum, the brand's co-CEO @nicolakilner said talking to customers directly about the ingredients in products and how they work is key. #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty
‘We didn't know how relevant our film would be when we were making it. When Steven [Rogers] wrote the script Trump wasn't president, class divide in America wasn't as evident as it is now, though it was present. The Time’s Up movement hadn't began and the way we look at women and treat women who speak out — thankfully that is something that seems to have shifted in the last year. I think we just need to continue making art that provokes the conversation and do what we can,’ said ‘I, Tonya’ actress @margotrobbie. Head to WWD.com to see all the celebrities who walked the red carpet @bafta #timesup #wwdeye (📸: Neil Hall)
Gemma Arterton is joined on the @bafta’s red carpet by Eileen Pullen and Gwen Davis, the two women who started the fight for the pay-gap. ‘They represent a normal person speaking out for what is right. Speak out, we will listen and anyone can speak out,’ said Arterton. #eebaftas #timesup #wwdeye (📸: David Fisher)