NEW YORK — Hedi Slimane, the red-hot designer of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche men’s wear, is expected to hand in his official resignation today, WWD has learned.
All appears amicable, however, and in a surprising twist, Slimane might actually remain with YSL parent Gucci Group. Discussions are underway for Gucci to back a signature men’s collection for the 31-year-old, who earned swift acclaim for his lean, sharp tailoring and unapologetically androgynous designs. It could not immediately be learned if a Gucci-backed Slimane line would include women’s apparel, but it’s believed to be on the negotiating table.
Slimane’s rumored exit from YSL, first reported in these columns in February, has been the subject of intense speculation, given the dramatic changes sweeping through YSL since Gucci Group purchased the legendary house last November. He is said to have been courted by Prada Group as a potential successor to Jil Sander, and also by LVMH.
While Slimane has remained mum on the subject, he was said to have balked at the creative hierarchy at YSL, which had him reporting directly to Tom Ford, who was named creative director of YSL in January and chief designer of women’s ready-to-wear earlier this month. But despite the resignation, sources described his relationship with YSL and Gucci as positive.
Slimane could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Gucci declined to comment.
However, Ford has publicly praised Slimane and was among the first backstage to offer congratulations after Slimane’s standout fall 2000 men’s collection in Paris in January. “He has a real point of view,” Ford said of Slimane in a recent interview. “He also has all of the other things that it takes to be a success: He is smart, articulate, charming, good-looking and very sexy.”
Although Slimane has no formal training, his rise in the fashion world has been swift. Hired as an assistant in fashion marketing at YSL 3 1/2 years ago, Slimane was quickly installed as head designer of the sleepy Rive Gauche Homme collection. He woke it up with clothes he describes as seductive, including faintly subversive leather trenchcoats, pinch-waisted suits, plunging shirts and slashed jersey tops.

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