If ever there was a tragic decision in fashion, it was YSL‘s decision to not go forward with designer Hedi Slimane‘s contract, a failed decision symbolized by the final piece shown on his fall 2016 runway, a red fur coat made literally in the shape of a broken heart, which has famously been worn by none other than Mz. Fenty.
In a nutshell, when Slimane joined the label in 2012, he made a ton of bold moves, including changing the title of the label from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent and relocating the design studio to Los Angeles, and while the elite fashion press had issue with him, his singular vision was loved by the youth and his ability to connect with them was part of his value and one of the reasons the label performed so well under his leadership.
Trust and believe, there are legions of people who were all over the brand under his tenure who are no longer interested in it past the current season, which represents his final offerings at retail. Not designed by Hedi? No thanks.
All this leads us to the big ugly that has been YSL and Slimane’s break up, whose latest update, according to French news agency AFP, is that Slimane has layered on new legal attacks against YSL’s parent group Kering Group. According to Fashion Network:
“[Slimane] is demanding that Kering abide by a partnership agreement giving Slimane certain rights, notably the right of access to information, as a minority shareholder in Saint Laurent. The case about the partnership agreement should be discussed on 19th October in a hearing at the Paris trade court.
“As for the non-competition clause, at the end of June Kering was sentenced to pay $13 million to Hedi Slimane, but the group has appealed against the ruling. Questioned by AFP, Kering has declined to comment.”
Whether or not it’s connected to the emergence of this news, Slimane went on Twitter offensive early this morning and using a series of all-cap messages (below) seemed intent on laying out the argument that use of the “precious” Cassandre-designed YSL logo was ALWAYS a part of his plan as head creative, including it not only as a logo on product, but also to brand runways, stores and production spaces.
Are these messages somehow connected to his litigation with Kering? Perhaps as part of the lawsuit it’s important it be publicly known he championed the logo, a fact that as of late may have been weakened by “inaccurate” statements made in the press, including and especially by no less than The Cut fashion writer Cathy Horyn, somewhat of an arch enemy for Slimane ever since she famously had a melt down when as a fashion writer for the NY Times Slimane chose not to invite her to his first runway presentation as head creative for Saint Laurent.
Horyn’s review of the label’s spring presentation under the direction of Anthony Vaccarello was titled “The Y Is Back in YSL, But Not Much Else Is Yet.” In the review itself, she noted,”Vaccarello has restored the Y, which had been excised by his predecessor, Hedi Slimane.” Odd statements to make by the knowledgeable Horyn given, as Slimane noted, while Yves was removed from the name of the label, YSL was repeatedly used as a branding device.
What can be said about all this except that is all very sad and not unlike seeing a couple that once seemed like perfect soul mates for each other fall apart spectacularly and not because they weren’t always meant for each other, but because external circumstances beyond their control made it impossible. Think Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca and you have what befell YSL and Hedi. “We’ll always have Paris.”