A Guide to Hedi Slimane’s work at Yves Saint Laurent
Rebellious. Innovative. Scandalous. Just some of the ways Hedi Slimane was described by critics after 4 years of service to Yves Saint Laurent. Despite the day it was announced, and unfortunate that it was no April fools joke, Slimane became the fourth designer to leave his post in under five years – Alexander Wang left Balenciaga after three years last July, Raf Simmons who left Dior in February and Stefano Pilato left Zegna after leaving YSL.
Out of his four years at Saint Laurent he is probably best known for changing the silhouette of men’s fashion to super skinny, however Slimane didn’t just design ‘pretty clothes’ – his careful touch transformed the iconic fashion house, his designs left critics stunned, his revolutionary fashion brought back the young ones love of fashion. He put his print on the extravagant eponymous brand, giving it his own rock n’ roll tameless style that brought opinions of disgust and of praise. Despite some’s eagerness for a new creative director, it is no secret that Slimane certainly transformed the label – sales grew from about £248 million to £682 million in four years (2011 to 2015). You know Slimane’s good when the kaiser Karl Lagerfield decidedly went on to a diet just to fit his clothes (which by the way led to a weight loss of up to 93 lbs!)
Slimane’s debut collection – Spring 2013, Ready to Wear
There were immaculate suits, clean cuts and billowing blouses, the rock edge aesthetic teamed with 70’s shapes and a lot of black was a strong starting point for the designer. The 70’s era had never been portrayed like this before- it was refreshing and new. Of course there were the typical ponchos and cloaks but Slimane also created a lasting look from the very start, that has stuck with him throughout his time at YSL.
Slimane’s last collection – Autumn/Winter 2016/17 , Ready to wear
When comparing the two collections there is nostalgia, showing some things never changed: the big belts, large use of black and skinny silhouette, but every collection over the last four years came out new and fresh, each collection was packed with new ideas.