Yves Saint Laurent was founded in 1961 by the man himself and his partner Pierre Berge. Over the years the brand has become synonymous with classic, ready to wear men’s designs and even more so with introducing the idea of women in menswear (Le Smoking jacket was a first of its kind tuxedo suit for women designed by Laurent in 1966).
So it might have come as a bit of a surprise this past winter when the fashion house dropped creative director Stefano Pilati, known for his understated and classic designs, in exchange Hedi Slimane, a man known to create somewhat avant-garde, slim fitting fashions from his years at Hommes Dior (Dior for men). Slimane previously had a short stint with the brand in the late 90’s, but really fine tuned his aesthetic with his time at Hommes Dior and has wasted no time making waves in his new position. In a controversial decision earlier this year Slimane announced that he would be dropping the ‘Y’ from YSL changing the brands name to Saint Laurent Paris. He also changed the company’s classic typeface to something much more minimalist.
After much speculation about what direction Slimane would take the brand in term of design, a look book for his first collection (Spring/Summer 2013) has finally been released. The line is called “Skinny” and not only stays true to Slimane, who has once said he was born with Bowie in his head, but also melds classic YSL in terms of construction and feel. Slimane has added his edge to classic pieces using leather, black and white as a main color way and a certain glam rock sensibility including touches of gold and leopard print throughout.
Here are some of my favorites from the collection:
With the rebrand and logo change (it has been the same since 1963) it is clear that Slimane is trying to bring the company into the future. It’s hard to take a brand with such a rich history and flip it on it’s head, but Slimane is in the process of proving that radical changes are sometimes necessary for a brand to remain relevant over time.