ALL ABOUT YVES



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last summer, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) changed its iconic name after almost 50 years. The luxury French fashion house decided to discard the letter Y (for Yves) and rename itself “Saint Laurent Paris”.


I must have been living under a rock because I was completely unaware of this until I saw at the weekend an advert in a magazine with the ‘Saint Laurent’ logo.
It frankly puzzled me. Is this a new brand? Trying to compete with “Yves Saint Laurent”, this mammoth of fashion? How daring! How foolish! Or could it be a re-branding from YSL? But why? What would be the point? YSL does not need to be cool! Surely, Pierre Bergé wouldn’t have allowed that! Wouldn’t it be the equivalent of sartorial self-mutilation? And what would the late Yves Saint Laurent think of it if he were still alive?

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Pierre Berge & Hedi Slimane

Pierre Berge & Hedi Slimane


What was heralded as a ‘monumental change’ was part of the then-recently appointed creative director Hedi Slimane’s rebranding strategy. His plans are to “restore the house to its truth, purity and essence using similar fonts from that time period.” and to give Saint Laurent a cooler, edgier, more ‘rock ‘n roll’ look. Courtney Love has now joined rocker Marilyn Manson for the latest Saint Laurent campaign shot by Hedi Slimane.


Courtney Love

Courtney Love

Marylin Manson

Marylin Manson



What looked like an insignificant and trivial change (“For the life of Dior, it’s just a letter!!!” some cried) divided the fashion world and caused huge debate and even ire amongst some die-hard fashionistas last summer at the anticipated reveal of the retro logo.

Slimane was ‘anointed’ Creative Director for Yves Saint Laurent last year, replacing Stefano Pilati (do you remember Anna Wintour in the September Issue going to the YSL headquarters in Paris to see previews of his new collection and asking him, politely, curtly and a tad disdainfully (close your eyes, imagine the hair bob and the dark sunnies) “I don’t see real evening on that rack, are you not doing any?” and “So, you’re not really feeling for colours!?”. Ouch. And off with his head…) after he filled in Tom Ford’s big shoes. (NB: Stefano Pilati is now
at the hem helm of Ermenegildo Zegna.)

YSL is one of the most recognizable logos in the fashion world. It was designed originally by the illustrator A.M Cassandre in 1963 the same year the company was launched by a young French designer called Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. Interestingly, when the first boutique opened in 1966 on 21 rue de Tournon in Paris, the ready-to-wear line was called Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Consequently, “Saint Laurent Paris” is not a far cry from the original name.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store in 1966

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store in 1966

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’s original logo reproduced for the retrospective in Paris in 2011

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’s original logo reproduced for the retrospective in Paris in 2011



And if you are a traditionalist, don’t fret too much because the company still operates under the name Yves Saint Laurent for the Haute Couture, as will its beauty and perfume lines licensed by L’Oréal.

‘Saint Laurent Paris’ is making its debut for spring/summer 2013 when the collection hits the stores.

‘Just Saying’ Post-script – 14/04/13. Did you see the article in today Sunday Times’ Style magazine about Hedi Slimane’s Revolution not Evolution at Saint Laurent??


 



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