When rumors about designer departures swirl, the designer’s first response is to deny, deny, deny. Yet, evidence is strong in the case of Hedi Slimane – who is rumored to be leaving Saint Laurent – after the media picked up on the news that he has yet to renew his contract with the storied French maison, where he has been Creative Director since early 2012. If Slimane is actually leaving, this will mark the second time he has parted ways with Saint Laurent, the first being in 2000 when he stepped down from his position as the ready-to-wear director of Yves Saint Laurent menswear after serving the label since 1996.
So far, Slimane’s impact has been so significant that his tenure resulted in a new epoch, where Yves Saint Laurent was abbreviated to simply Saint Laurent under his instruction, and where he guided a new aesthetic that embraced provocation in the form of a new grunge/punk makeover. Slimane’s further dalliances with the fields of music and photography have also helped evolve the new era of Saint Laurent, and the designer has been behind dozens of projects that reoriented the brand’s focus by showcasing new faces in music and fashion through portraiture. By remaking Saint Laurent in his own image, Slimane found success – during his reign, profits at the brand have more than doubled, according to Business of Fashion.
As speculation continues, one thing is clear: Paris Fashion Week is in for a big change. After the sudden departures of Raf Simons from Dior and Alber Elbaz from Lanvin, familiar faces at PFW are becoming more rare. If Slimane is to join the ranks of the absconded, he would certainly be contributing to a larger problem at France’s legendary houses, which is, in short, a struggle to remain relevant.
Apparently, Saint Laurent is already searching for a replacement, and Anthony Vaccarello is a leading contender for the position. Vaccarello has enjoyed a meteoric rise in fame due to his sensual collections, which caught the eye of Donatella Versace and landed him the coveted position of Creative Director at Versus Versace in January of 2015.
Keep an eye on Savoir Flair, as we continue to track this story.