The rumors of Hedi Slimane’s impending departure from Saint Laurent had been swirling for months, but on Friday, Saint Laurent parent company Kering confirmed what fashion industry insiders assumed was true: Slimane’s surprise couture show at Paris Fashion Week in March was his last with the brand.
If you’re a longtime bag lover or have even a passing interest in Hermès, you’ve probably seen plenty of photos of the brand’s bags with colorful scarves wrapped around the handles. Hermès makes a silk design, the Twilly, specifically for that purpose (although it’s also used for other things), and Birkin aficionados in particular have long used it as a way to customize their bags while protecting the handles from wear, discoloration and oil absorption.
When the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour first came out, Amanda shared that it wasn’t for her. I took a liking to it and my feelings toward the bag have only grown over time. Saint Laurent hit it big with this bag, and it’s proven to be accepted into the handbag world and given a permanent slot in the must-have bag category.
I’m often critical of Saint Laurent under Hedi Slimane, but the man does have an undeniable knack for certain things. To me, his collections often feel cobbled together of riffs on pieces other labels have found cool-girl success with, like Chelsea boots and leather jackets marked up until they feel rarified, but that approach does turn out a lot of pieces that are enviable on their own.
Saint Laurent doesn’t do the splashy bag launches and re-launches every season that some brands do. Hedi Slimane has built his company’s popularity on trying to make the best versions of the things every woman already wants in her closet, whether that’s the perfect little going-out bag or the perfect pair of Chelsea boots to wear six months out of the year.
In designing the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour, it seems like the brand was betting on the fact that there would be an enthusiastic market for a modernized, anonymized take on the classic Hermès Birkin. Although there was much gnashing of teeth in handbag circles when the design debuted, the bet has paid off in spades for the brand, and famous, fashionable women have been some of the bag’s biggest proponents.
When starlets, supermodels and It Girls alike take up interest in a particular bag, you can be that it’s going to be massively popular in short order. That’s exactly what happened to the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour–creative director Hedi Slimane released his modernized take on the classic Birkin shape a scant two years ago, and we started seeing multiple celebs carrying it every day from the beginning.