There’s no surprise to the fact that Hedi Slimane is stepping down from the helm of Saint Laurent after four (very) short years. Adding to the list of designers that have left their posts as creative directors after no more than five years, Slimane rebranded, reintroduced, and revamped the iconic Parisian house.
Slimane, as far as my opinion goes, has revolutionized the fashion industry as did his previous counterpart, Yves Saint Laurent. Slimane was able to bring this punk rock culture that is so alive and well in California and make it chic and modern. Not only did he turn out amazing collections year after year and reinvented the brand, he also did this through internal affairs such as dropping the “Yves” From “Yves Saint Laurent” and moving the house’s offices from Paris to Los Angeles.
Slimane was at the head of every single visual aspect of this brand and only made it better. This can clearly be seen by the fact that he photographed every single campaign himself for every collection or his highly selective method of choosing and nurturing specific models and muses for campaigns and fashion shows as well. The new culture and “look” he created at Saint Laurent was criticized at first for tarnishing the brand, but four years later, Hedi has increased revenue dramatically and has been praised by other fashion gods like Karl Lagerfeld.
Perhaps one of the most important things to mention, however, is the backing of Pierre Berge of Slimane. Berge, who was Yves Saint Laurent’s business and life partner, is one of the very few people who knew Yves on a deep and personal level. That being said, Slimane is the only creative director that has been appreciated and applauded by Berge, which is something Tom Ford and Stefano Pilati failed to achieve. This, at least to me, says that Slimane did something right in Berge’s eyes.
Ultimately, Hedi Slimane will go down as an exemplary designer, and in my personal opinion he will be one of the greats in later time. Slimane is so inspiring and it’s truly upsetting that he will no longer hold the reigns at Saint Laurent. He created more than just clothes and an image at this brand; he curated a legacy for himself. Whoever successes Slimane has really big shoes to fill and can only do their best to keep the brand alive and breathing as Slimane did. While it’s unknown what Hedi Slimane will do next, let’s just hope that this isn’t the last that we see of him whether it’s in fashion or another medium of art.