When YSL announced a change of name and logo for the upcoming Hedi Slimane designed ready-to-wear collection, we were of course surprised. To some, it signaled a bold move forward for the haute couture line – a step into modern times, perhaps. For others, it betrayed the values they had come to associate with Yves Saint Laurent’s glamourous brand, and this attracted a backlash against the decision by Slimane. The designer has answered his critics however with this statement:
“It is interesting to see how much reaction this retro branding has created … Clearly, this period of the history of the house was not well-known, which I trust was a surprise for Pierre Bergé [Saint Laurent’s long-term partner]. I went back to 1966 — just before the events of 1968 [when 11 million workers revolted against the conservative politics of then-President Charles de Gaulle — the biggest general strike in history], but the awakening of youth was in the air, and Yves Saint Laurent wanted to dissociate himself from the clientele of haute couture and embrace this new generation.”
One thing is for sure, Hedi Slimane would not have gone into making such a major decision lightly, or without doing his research. Another thing we can almost certainly be sure of – more changes will come as Slimane seeks to adapt and modernize Saint Laurent Paris.