By  on May 8, 2013

PARIS — The world’s largest assembly of Saint Laurent merchandise by Hedi Slimane has landed on Avenue Montaigne here — showcased in an airy, minimalist boutique composed mainly of marble, metal and mirrors.

The 9,700-square-foot flagship, which opens to the public Thursday, is the boldest expression yet of the French brand’s expansion and rejuvenation drive.

“The store concept is an essential ingredient of the reformation by Mr. Slimane and the new strategic direction of the house,” Paul Deneve, president and chief executive officer of Yves Saint Laurent, told WWD.

Besides boutique openings and refurbishments, Deneve said there also would be “significant investments” in communications, product development, production and the supply chain — all to help vault Saint Laurent into fashion’s major leagues.

The two-story Avenue Montaigne boutique — which features a sprawling VIP salon and fitting room clad in diagonally quilted black leather — is certainly a major statement for the mythic brand.

“Being located in one of the most prestigious districts for luxury shopping, it’s an important move for Yves Saint Laurent as a couture house that is deeply rooted in Paris,” Deneve said, also heralding the unit as “a significant step” in the evolution of the brand under Slimane.

To be sure, the store announces how quickly the designer, who arrived at the creative helm of YSL in February 2012, has overhauled the product universe.

Cabas Chyc handbags and Tribute shoes — key engines for the label under its previous designer, Stefano Pilati — are nowhere in sight, replaced by the new ladylike Sac du Jour and a platform pump named Janis, among items that helped YSL report a 16.9 percent revenue gain in the first quarter, besting all its luxury peers at French parent Kering (the former PPR).

 

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