After months of rumors and speculation, last week it was finally announced that Hedi Slimane would step down as creative director of Saint Laurent. The 48-year-old designer leaves some rather large shoes to fill – under his leadership, the legendary house was modernized and revitalized to huge success, becoming the go-to brand for the rich and famous while profits skyrocketed.
That’s not to say Slimane was without his detractors, though. His self-styled “ Reform Project” was all-encompassing – he revamped flagship stores, shot the house’s advertising campaigns himself, relocated its design studio to LA and revived its couture collection – but only for those he personally deemed worthy.
Hedi Slimane was an exceptionally divisive figure, but from a financial standpoint, he was astronomically successful. Within three years, the maison’s sales more than doubled, and last year eclipsed the $1 billion mark. Chinese luxury chain Lane Crawford reported triple digit sales growth for Saint Laurent during Slimane’s tenure. In the final quarter of 2015, sales were up 27.4% – and that’s when the luxury market as a whole is experiencing a worldwide slow-down. To achieve that level of financial success in such a short time is nothing short of miraculous.
We expect the Permanent Collection will remain exactly that – permanent – while wardrobe staples and punchy statement pieces keep the cash registers chiming. Perhaps Vaccarello will be replacing Hedi’s grungy thrift-store-luxe, with his own polished, sexually-charged glamour. We can hope he’ll forget the cringeworthy novelty pieces dotted throughout recent Saint Laurent collections, though, like this obnoxiously awful $450 tuxedo T-shirt.
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.