Saint Laurent and the Changing Tides of Fashion

Just this week, the news of Hedi Slimane’s departure from the house Saint Laurent was announced. The news did not come as much of a surprise as rumours of his departure were being heard since January. However, it did make the many changes of creative directorship at major houses more apparent, starting with Raf Simons’ departure from Dior in October, followed by the announcement of Alber Elbaz’s unceremonious firing from Lanvin, where he had been designing for 14 years. lvss14 copy

I was disappointed by Hedi’s resignation. He had re-entered the brand only four years previously and had proceeded to change the name, change the stores and radically change the clothes that where coming down the Saint Laurent runway. I believe that since he had decided to completely rebrand the Yves Saint Laurent company, it was his responsibility to stick with it. His brand building talent is  arguably greater than his design talent, although the clothes, probably something to do with their relative simplicity, sold extremely well.

Having said that, I really did enjoy this Fall 2016 collection, held at brand’s new atelier on the Rue l’Universitie. It seemed to propose a new direction for Hedi’s Saint Laurent. For the first time, the clothes actually looked really well made. The styling was also really great and brought it out of seeming like a rehash of 80s couture and actually made it seem modern and fresh.

I find it hard to understand Hedi’s motives for leaving Saint Laurent. It really seems like the end of designers staying at their houses for a long period of time. As the fashion world waits expectantly for the announcement of Dior’s new designer and Anthony Vaccarello to show his first collection for Saint Laurent, I wonder how good it really is for houses to constantly be reshaping their brand identity.

Everything seems to be about a new headline, a new announcement. I wonder if that’s what brands really need, to sell. I always thought it was good clothes.

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