Exactly a decade after Yves Saint Laurent declared the death of haute couture and retired from the catwalk, the still-thriving clothing business he founded has decided on a makeover that will see his first name disappear from the labels.
The Yves Saint Laurent ready-to-wear collection is to be rebranded Saint Laurent Paris. The change marks the growing influence of the newly promoted creative director Hedi Slimane, who took over in March. The French-born designer has already moved the label’s design studio from Paris to his adoptive city of Los Angeles.
A spokeswoman confirmed that the famous YSL logo, which appears on handbags, lipsticks and shoes, would remain unchanged, although there is no certainty that it will continue to be used as widely. Created by the graphic designer Cassandre to launch the fashion house in 1961, it has become as recognisable as Chanel’s interlocked Cs or Louis Vuitton’s LV.
The decision to cut “Yves” out of the picture provoked an outcry from fashion bloggers. “It’s like when they changed Opal Fruits to Starburst only 10 times worse,” tweeted British vintage clothing store Rokit, while online commentator Fashion156.com complained the new name “sounds like a chain of downmarket budget hotels”.
Slimane’s spokeswoman said he was drawing inspiration from 1966, when the ready-to-wear line was launched as Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. The name changed again after Saint Laurent retired. He produced the label’s last haute couture collection in 2002, and died in 2008. The founder himself may have approved, as he enjoyed making radical changes: he became the first couturier to diversify into ready-to-wear, pioneered the trouser suit and introduced the first black models to Paris catwalks.
The makeover, to be presented with Slimane’s first womenswear collection this autumn, will use similar fonts to the 1966 branding. And the full Yves Saint Laurent name will continue to be used for “institutional purposes”.
However, with the fashion house now part of the PPR conglomerate, its company name is far less prominent than the catwalk label.
A photographer and designer, Slimane created menswear for YSL until 2000, before leaving for the same job at Dior.
He exited Dior in 2007 to concentrate on photography, before returning to YSL to take over from Stefano Pilati, who succeeded Tom Ford as the brand’s chief designer in 2004.
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