After months of rumors, last week it was finally announced that Hedi Slimane would step down as creative director of Saint Laurent by Kering, the luxury group which owns the storied French brand. Controversial and innovative, Slimane revamped flagship stores, shot the house’s advertising campaigns himself, relocated its design studio to LA and dropped “Yves” from the house’s communications, rebranding the maison simply as “Saint Laurent Paris.” That particular move caused outrage among high-fashion purists, many of whom regard Yves Saint Laurent as the greatest designer of all time. We have to say that Hedi Slimane is a love-or-hate figure in high fashion, but we also have to consider that Saint Laurent profits in the last years skyrocketed thanks to his moves. Within three years, the maison’s sales more than doubled, and last year eclipsed the $1 billion mark.
The 48-year-old designer will be replaced by 33-year-old Belgian of Italian origins, Anthony Vaccarello, who leaves his role at Versus Versace. Reserved and modest, Vaccarello has known success from the start of his career. The same year that he graduated with distinction from fashion school, he won the Hyères prize. A job offer from Fendi, and the creative directorship of Versus followed soon after.
"I am extremely happy to have Anthony Vaccarello take the creative helm of Yves Saint Laurent," said Francesca Bellettini, president and CEO of Yves Saint Laurent. "His modern, pure aesthetic is the perfect fit for the maison. Anthony Vaccarello impeccably balances elements of provocative femininity and sharp masculinity in his silhouettes. He is the natural choice to express the essence of Yves Saint Laurent. I am enthusiastic about embarking on a new era with Anthony Vaccarello, and together bringing the maison further success." Anthony Vaccarello will present his first collection for Saint Laurent in October during Paris’s SS17 womenswear week, while his men’s debut will likely follow in January 2017.