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. Then, yesterday, long-rumored replacement Anthony Vaccarello was confirmed as his successor.

We don’t know yet what Vaccarello will do with accessories; his current, eponymous label doesn’t produce handbags, and Versus’s accessory output during his rather brief tenure at its helm was limited. What we can do, though, is look back at what Slimane did in the handful of years he spent at Saint Laurent. He’s been a polarizing figure since he took the job and dropped the “Yves” from the ready-to-wear label’s name, but love him or hate him, his impact has been huge, in bags and beyond.

YSL’s accessories business wasn’t exactly hurting when Slimane replaced previous creative director Stefano Pilati; under Pilati’s direction, the brand did a brisk business, including the Muse Bag and Tribute Sandal, both of which were “It” pieces of their eras. With a new, rock-n-roll feel and the support of scads of models and celebrities, though, Slimane was able to introduce huge hits like the Sac de Jour and Monogramme bag lines, both of which quickly seemed to be required pieces for anyone wanting to be thought of as a supermodel or pop star.

Slimane’s accessories staff’s greatest skill was taking a basic, iconic piece or shape that shoppers already want and distilling it down into its most important elements. Depending on who you ask, that either makes Slimane a shopper’s dream or a ripoff artist, but the effects of his “wardrobing” approach (which makes a brand’s seasonal collections less individual and distinct, favoring the gradual expansion of a handful of core aesthetic ideals) can be felt widely, including in the runaway success of Gucci under Alessandro Michele.

With all that in mind, will you miss Slimane’s approach at Saint Laurent, or are you ready for something new?

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Sara

    I miss the Muse Bag, it was so hot at the time but I couldn’t afford it then. Sac de Jour is on my wish list. Curious to see what Vaccarello will do.

  • Katy ;P

    I personally love the handbags he made! So sleek and simple. Hopefully, they will still make some of them in the future!

  • Katy ;P

    I personally love the bags he made! So sleek and simple. Hopefully, they will still get made! But I am really looking forward to the new stuff as well!

  • Sparky

    Glad they dropped the “Yves”. Too 70’s, Studio 54.
    Whoever is working on cosmetics needs to rethink the packaging and positioning.

    • I agree, and I’m honestly surprised YSL beauty didn’t change during Slimane’s tenure; I know it’s a separate vertical that he didn’t oversee, but the huge chasm between the two aesthetics seems bad for branding and made the beauty line’s positioning seem dated.

      • Kate

        I love their beauty line. I hate almost everything else about Mr. Slimane’s YSL.

      • Amazona

        Don’t you mean “SL”? :/ Ain’t Laurent without Yves. I, too love the beauty line and it’s gorgeous packaging and products. Not much else has appealed to me since Slimane took over.

      • T Tara Bagnista

        I thought YSL Beaute was acquired by L’Oreal.

      • anon

        That’s exactly right. L’Oreal is in charge of YSL’s beauty products. Aside from name, it’s very separate from the fashion line

  • Kate

    I like the Sac de Jour and the Monogramme line, but Slimane designed such incredibly, incredibly ugly clothes. Adios. I hope the rumors of him heading over to Dior are untrue. Dior does not need to become as cheap aesthetically as Slimane’s YSL.

  • FashionableLena

    Interested to see what Vaccarello will do with the clothing. His line (and Versus) is so overtly sexy. There is nothing subtle about his style and taste level.
    The bags have not appealed to me. I like to look at them on others, but they’re not my style. I’m sure not much will change with the accessories, but I think that we will see more skin with the clothing.

  • Averil

    I really dissed him when he arrived and dropped the “Yves” but damn if I didnt end up buying 2 Saint Laurent bags as well as 2 wallets… ??

  • seres

    I went from no YSL to 5 SL bags, so suffice to say I am a fan. I didn’t love everything but it was often youthful, grounded in classicism and undeniably cool. For all the controversy, he has been a success and speaks of a formidable strength of will and vision.

    I don’t know much about Vaccarello besides a preference for flesh-baring sexy clothing but am open minded. Change is life.

  • lavinia

    Yes I do, I will miss him. He took modernity into tradition in this brand, his rock-woman is a milestone for a so traditional brand. The brand should be very grateful to him. I personally thought Frida Giannini could be the right choice for them, but also Anthony Vaccarello can do good (please do not take Versace into SL!)

  • SerenLuv

    I will miss Mr. Slimane. He created my favorite bag, the Sac de Jour. I have the classic large in black and red. I bought the black shortly after it came out and when they announced that size would be discontinued, I snapped up the red from neimans quickly. At the time, the price was $2995. I am in love with this bag and I’m so happy I was able to get both. I am also a fan of the tribute shoe line and I have Mary Jane, pointed toe and sandals.

  • Maya

    I loved every bit of the minimalist Post Punk feel Hedi Slimane brought to Saint Laurent! This should be interesting, is it gonna go from Post Punk to Trash-Kardashian-bimbo-ish….curious to see for sure!

  • Casey

    I think Hedi Slimane did an amazing job revamping the brand, and he had a lot of big hits on his hands. He’s one of the few designers that could get people excited about ripped jeans and fringe to the extent that he did. However, I’m not sad that he is leaving. I think he left his mark, and he did what he had to do, and I’m ready to see something new. I was devastated when he left Dior Homme because I don’t think I had enough yet, but now, I think we had just the right amount of Hedi before I got completely sick of it.

  • Dwightinha

    Will miss his new take on everything Saint Laurent. But wouldn’t mind that they brought the original brandname YSL back!

    • L.O.

      Saint Laurent is the original name of the very first boutique to open in 1966. Yves Saint Laurent referred to the couture line that Mr. Yves Saint Laurent made himself. Hence the name of the stores you walk into today. If you like the YSL to be on your clothes, you should reach out to the company and see if their new couture house can make a piece that is a one of a kind garment. Then you’ll have your name and garment place in a gold book kept in the house to be kept on record forever. But get ready because it’s not gonna be cheap and good luck actually getting anywhere with that. But you do want the YSL right?