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.
Yesterday, the Parisian fashion house @azzaro_official cut the ribbon on a temeporary retrospective at the wing of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The exhibition, which shows the lasting influence of the brand’s founder Loris Azzaro, is titled “Azzaro, Fifty Sparkling Years” and presents 50 looks. In it’s ’70s heyday, fans of the brand included Jane Birkin, pictured here, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot and more. See more photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@trinaturk and @macys Inc International Concepts line are linking up on a collection for summer — filled with accessories, swimwear and shoes. The collection will also include a Mr Turk men’s line, both of which are the designer’s first entry into a more accessibly priced area. “It’s very world-traveler, gypset-inspired,” said Turk. The Trina Turk x INC line will launch on May 15th. #wwdfashion
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge