I knew it. You knew it. We all knew it, but none of us wanted it to be true, and here we are.
Vogue reported today that Hedi Slimane is leaving Saint Laurent, and the news was made official this morning by the label’s owner, Kering.
“What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the house,” said Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, in a statement. “I am very grateful to Hedi Slimane, and the whole Yves Saint Laurent team, for having set the path that the house has successfully embraced, and which will grant longevity to this legendary brand.”
And man alive, this is a big year for departures. Recently, Raf Simmons bowed out of Dior, while Alber Elbaz made his exit from Lanvin. So while rumours of Slimane’s departure have been circulating for the better half of a year (especially since his contract expired this week), it completes the Holy Trinity of, “I get that fashion is built on change and evolution but come on, man.”
Francesca Bellattini, CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, also had some words to offer: “I would like to thank Hedi Slimane very much for his vision in reforming such an iconic House as Yves Saint Laurent. The direction that has been taken over the last four years represents an incredible foundation for the Brand to build on for its continuous success.”
So now what? Well, WWD has said the announcement of Slimane’s successor could come as early as May 1, so at least we won’t have long to wait. Word on the street is that Anthony Vaccarello will be the man to step up, but also: who knows? I mean, certainly not anybody here. (As in me, and you, who is reading this.) But according to the Wall Street Journal (the first time I have ever read it, BTW — hi), Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said Slimane’s exit “will raise concerns as to whether Saint Laurent can continue its growth, given the fact Slimane has been the key architect to the brand’s survival.”
My solution? Enlist Harry Styles. Dude and his beautiful boots are probably spiralling today.