Rumors that Hedi Slimane is leaving Saint Laurent has been in the air for quite some time now. While Saint Laurent had previously slammed the rumor, today WWD released that “the designer has so far failed to reach an agreement on the renewal of his initial contract with the Kering-owned fashion house and is preparing to part ways”. In a possible plan for change, Anthony Vaccarello (creative director of Versus Versace) was named as a potential successor.
Along with this came news that Saint Laurent will no longer be presenting in Paris, rather they will be showing the FW16 mens and part one of the women collection in Los Angeles. The show will take place at the Hollywood Palladium on February 10th, just one day before NYFW starts, and part 2 of the women’s collection will still take place in Paris during fashion week on March 7th.
One could very easily argue that it will be a huge loss to the fashion house because of how mainstream and youthful Slimane has shaped Saint Laurent to be, yet many believe that it’s time for him to go. After living in LA for so many years – 16 to be exact – I’ve had my fair share of dipping my feet into the laid back, beach grunge, celeb driven culture that Slimane has looked to for inspiration for his last few collections. When the FW13 campaign came out and it featured Fletcher and Wyatt Shears from a small band named The Garden, it was refreshing and new. It was the coolest concept that the band – two brothers who performed to roughly 150 other kids at The Smell or The Observatory every few months – were being featured by a brand like Saint Laurent. As Slimane developed the brand into more of a musical inspiration/collaboration, it soon became obvious that it wasn’t the people and their talent that he was trying to capture, but their cool factor. Fast forward to the most recent SS16 presentation and I saw multiple people straight out of local LA high schools sharing the runway with these “cool” kids and even a jacket designed by a girl from a neighborhood school (which by the way WAS fucking cool). Slimane formed a new “clique”, the Saint Laurent Kids, and now you can see “SLP Wannabe’s” all over social media.
Slimane is marketing to a demographic that idolizes the youthful West Coast vibe. But how many the young adults Slimane looks to for inspiration can afford a $5,000 Saint Laurent floral dress? Recently I found myself at a bar watching a shitty band filled with said SL followers. Except these kids weren’t wearing SL; they were wearing a lot of knock-off pieces from Nasty Gal.
Has Saint Laurent lost its originality and its edge? Slimane had formed the new Saint Laurent from a culture that is already present here in LA. But, as we all know, as youth we are fickle and move easily onto the next designer/trend/fashion quickly. If Slimane does exit, Anthony Vaccarello would be a perfect replacement considering the fun, edgy, fresh feeling he brings to Versus Versace.