When I first heard the rumor that Yves Saint Laurent‘s new creative director Hedi Slimane was looking to change the iconic French luxury house’s name, admittedly, I scoffed. “Silly slow-news-day gossip that will never be substantiated,” I said to myself. Because what else could it be? Almost all of YSL’s branding over the last 10 years has centered squarely on the importance of the brand’s initials, and the Y in particular – from the incredibly popular Yves Saint Laurent Cabas ChYc to the Yves Saint Laurent Easy Bag, practically every major bag that the brand currently sells is predicated on the Y. Even many of the men’s bags use the logo heavily, and YSL’s logo is a stylized set of initials. The name is the brand.

And then today, the brand confirmed to Women’s Wear Daily that by the time Slimane’s first collection debuts in the brand’s stores in 2013, Yves Saint Laurent will be known as Saint Laurent Paris. The WWD article mentions changes to the ready-to-wear line specifically, and also that the YSL name will be used for “institutional” purposes, whatever that means. Additionally, the iconic YSL logo will remain in use in some capacities. Otherwise, Slimane will return YSL (SLP?) to the branding used in 1966, all the way down to the fonts. What the article makes no mention of, however, is what will become of the heavily Y-branded bags.

Although YSL’s handbags sell well, fashion people have been speculating for seasons that a change of course might be needed (not to mention welcome). It’s been fun to see how Saint Laurent will incorporate a Y into each of its bags – sometimes it’s a stitched-in piece that overtakes the entire facade, sometimes it’s a giant piece of hardware, sometimes it’s just a demure little luggage tag on an otherwise Y-less design – but the idea was starting to reach the end of its logical cycle, particularly considering the ubiquity of the Cabas ChYc. (Note the capitalized Y.)

Because we don’t know much about the upcoming transition, including how it will affect accessories, it’s possible that the bags as we know them will stick around for a while, not only because they’re still popular but also because too much accessories upheaval at once can wreak havoc on a company’s bottom line. That’s a chance that’s perhaps not worth taking while the other elements of Saint Laurent Paris are still being solidified and consumers are still adjusting to the brand’s new direction. Or maybe Slimane will surprise us all with a completely fresh accessories strategy for Spring 2013; at this point, I wouldn’t put it past him.

The only thing that seems certain, though, that maintaing the Y branding in the long term would run counter to Slimane’s big plans for remaking the brand into something more focused on its early heritage. If you’ve had your eye on one of YSL’s current bags, it might be a good idea to go ahead and scoop it up. For our money, Net-a-Porter and Neiman Marcus have the best selection of the brand’s bags on the Internet.

So what do you think? Are you ready for a new direction for YSL, or is Slimane messing with something that you’d rather be left untouched?

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Sandra Rowley

    You do not have the change the name to implement new ideas….I think it is absurd and I am disappointed to hear this.  I love YSL and have several reasons for that in my closet.  Please give me a new direction as long as it is wearable in real life and made of the best materials.  DONT mess with the Yves.

  • Reneeo

    I think it is absurd too.   Change the look, go new directions, but really, is changing the name have to be a part of that????

  • Anonymous

    Why would you throw away years and years of branding and name recognition and product recognition? Doesn’t she realize how hard a name like that is to build? Apparently not.

    Well, now I’m glad I didn’t buy the Cabas Chyc I’ve been eyeing.

    • Dominic

       Hedi Slimane is a man.

      • anonymous

        Whoops! Thanks, Dominic. It says Hedi, and my brain read Heidi. (As in the girl that lives in the Alps with her grandfather.)

  • Tirlibibi

    There was a cocktail in romanian ambassy in paris to announce this. Change doesn’t make sense at all…

  • Jennifer A.

    I agree with all the commenters so far. Why change the name to signify change? Especially, if you are looking to go back to emphasizing the heritage, this seems disrespectful to that very heritage that Yves built up over the years. This whole changeover has included some very odd strategy.

  • Fashiondoesntexist

    I don’t know if it is a good idea to change a very important brand name, actually I think it isn’t. But I really trust Slimane and I love the idea to go back to the “early YSL”, so I appreciate the new direction taken by the maison.


  • dnfl


  • mlle p

    Poor idea – I bet it does not last.

  • Ddgladiva

    Why change such an iconic name.  As the commenter below said I can see implementing new idea, etc but no need to change the name that’s been recognized for years.  If it ain’t broke, why change it ?

  • Anna123

    awful idea…I wanted to buy the Chyc Cabbas now I am not or anything YSL for that matter…who knows what’s going to happen with the brand and what if everything changes my bag will look obsolete and outdated…I’d rather go for a classic like Chanel, Goyard or Balenciaga that have remained classics for years and years. I don’t think this is a good idea at all…

  • Jack Oberle

    I love YSL and I love Hedi Slimane, but I think that renaming the entire brand is a dreadful mistake. I really like that he plans to bring the brand back to it’s roots, and I hope he does it justice, and injects some of his severe yet playful attitude…but renaming it Saint Laurent Paris is just ridiculous.

    Also, what does the overhaul entail?  Retro Rive Guache colors, and design???

  • Lesliegreschen

    Amanda, since you are an expert in the handbag department as well all know. I was also considering buying the Chyc, but now I am also scared it will look outdated once the brand is re-branded and re-named. Do you think the Chyc is going to look outdated?

    • Honestly, I think that’s a great question, and I think it’s what confuses me so much about this announcement. I could understand a brand like Lanvin, that doesn’t use its initials or name in almost any of its branding, making a decision like this if they were in the same position. The YSL that people have come to know and love, though, is so in-your-face about its initials, particularly the Y that apparently no longer part of the company name, that it does seem to make a lot of its current accessories a tad irrelevant. It’s sort of like buying a model year 2012 car when you know that the brand new, completely redesigned 2013s are about to roll onto the lot in a week.

      The Y might stick around for accessories branding, though, because the company said that they would be sticking with the iconic initials logo for many of its products. For now, I would wait and see if another shoe drops before I bought something that I wasn’t totally in love with, but that would be my advice in almost any situation where you were contemplating a bag on which you weren’t 100% sold. If you love it, though, get it and carry it proudly. It might be your last chance, and in a couple of years you’ll be able to talk fondly about how you have a bag from Pilati’s last collection for YSL. Everything comes back around.

  • Bell

    What is YSL without the Y? This is a seriously bad idea!

  • 19yearslater

    Wow. It’ll be interesting to see what the new direction will look like and whether it’ll catch on with buyers. 

  • Newyorkcandygal

    OMG I hate it!!!! I love my YSL Cabas ChYc bag. I refuse to buy any “SLP?!?!?” bag ever! Really stupid…ugh

  • Lindarmk

    What…..change YSL to SLP…..crazy!!  Why change something that has so much success behind it.  YSL is one of my favorites, I can’t imagine changing the Y.

  • mollysmom

    So Saint Laurent Paris was the branding in the Sixties. And Sixties/mid century design is hot hot hot in both fashion and home decor. I see this as an attempt to capitalize on a hot trend.

  • Rashida

    It is truly a shame… she is trying to destroy the brand!

  • MAY

    It’s disgusting. How about that? How dare he even dream of that stupid idea? I will NOT buy their product if they change the name. It’s ridiculous.

  • dnfl

    the “yves” in the yves saint laurent has such a classy ring to it. plus when on an online store, it’s easy to locate the brand on the designer index, since the Y is one of the last letters of the alphabet which makes it less of a hassle. might not be that big of a deal, but it makes a difference to me. what was slimane thinking?! can’t say i’m not pissed about this… 

  • Bebang

    NO! You should not change YSL name!

    YSL is YSL, it has a significant value or should we say, it really established its own prestige and glamor in the fashion industry. YSL is one of my favorite brand, from Mondrian Dress to Tribtoo Pumps!!!! There are very famous for the past decades and even now!

    Changing the YSL name may impaired its persona as one of the bests signature brands in later years.

  • pixiegirlie

    No me gusta! I love YSL’s accessories (bags, shoes, ect). I don’t mind the brand going in a diffrent direction design/style wise but changing the name seems like a bad idea. I feel like it could turn off a lot of fans, people don’t like name changes. Like when Macy’s bought out Marshall Fields & Mervins and changed them all to Macy’s. Tons of people hated the name change esp where I’m from(chicago) and IMO now that the stores are macys instead of MF the same stores are not as busy as they were before the name change and the quality of merch has gone down.

  • Guest.

    This reeks of arrogance on Hedi’s part.

  • Angela

    Why change something that’s working well for them?
    It doesn’t make sense.

  • Bad idea!!! Really bad idea!

  • Tian Y

    It is ridiculous!!!
    I shall rush to get a CHYC bag. I love the Y, because it so fits with my family name and they are of great design.

    all my hommage to M. Yves Saint Laurent!

  • David

    As far as i know, only the ready to wear line shall be called saint laurent paris, a return to the spirit and intentions of the saint laurent rive gauche of the 60’s, the brand should remain Yves Saint Laurent

  • Emilie

    i would probably be trashed by saying this but i’m actually really interested on what he will do. don’t get me wrong, i LOVE the y logo on each and every bag ever came out but to make the decision this huge and vividly knowing the bar he needs to reach to be at least in the same playing level the brand now is, he can either be completely crazy or genius. like the cliche, it’s impossible until someone’s done it. 
    been on the fence with belle du jour but now will better get it before it’s gone!

  • I didnt see Celine pulling such stunts…great designs speak for itself.

  • adm

    this has to be one of the worst ideas ever! 

  • Olivia Jenkins

    The heritage of YSL it almost the name itself. After years of branding in recognition it would almost be absurd to change the name. Like many of the commenters say, it’s an iconic name . Poor choice

  • Ejehtgseg

    This is stupid. To throw away years of name recognition that made the items icon. 

  • Chellz

    this is a mild case of rebranding. we love YSL as it is. YSL as it has always been. i hope they dont. 

  • Stella

    A bad business decision. YSL is much more stylish than SLP, never mind our MANY Y-clad handbags and purses…

  • Oxana Crammond

    Seriously;) I will never buy anything from new brand name just because YSL himself was a name not just a brand! Very sad!

  • Alexandra Davidoff

    Silmane is just being arrogant. While he should be grateful for being chosen as YSL’s head creative director, he’s spitting on a fashion legend instead. Yves Saint Laurent was the first designer to make it fashionable for women to wear pants; I greatly respect him for that. To show such disrespect when taking on a position of such power in the fashion industry shows Silmane’s true colours. This is a tasteless move. John Galliano was kicked out of Dior for his drunken anti semitic remarks which didn’t directly affect Dior as a fashion house, but Silmane is allowed to do THIS? He doesn’t own YSL. He shouldn’t have the right to step on its branding.

    I have a simple question to Silmane – Y? 

    • iam ahot


    • NAN

      NICE ONE!!

  • in denial. 

  • Jackiee1970

    I agree with all the comments.  I think it’s absolutely absurd to change the name!!  Beyond arrogant of Slimane to think YSL loyal customers would think this is ok.  I have to wonder if any marketing research was done on this idea, as I can’t see the die hard fans going anything but ballistic about the idea!  I realise they have said they are keeping the branding for some things, but then that just get’s confusing to consumer. While dual branding works for some brands, I can’t see it working for something as iconic as YSL.  The whole thing is just beyond comprehension to me.

  • Guest

    Why was a creative director given the right to change the brand name?!!!!!!!
    He’s not even the owner of the brand. I’m surprised that the rest of the executives actually agreed with this most stupid idea.
    YSL is YSL, there are so many luxury brands that hire different creative directors over the years. You don’t see those creative directors rename the well-known brand names as the first thing they do after they take over the position.

  • ColoradoLady

    The YSL retrospective is in Denver until July 8th and is the only venue in the USA.  I would mind if the name was changed to Hedi Slimane for YSL so that the brand is continued.  It’s like changing the LV for Louis Vuitton!  It just isn’t right!!!  However, all of you dissing the brand now, I think NOW is the time to celebrate Yves and scarf up the “Y” logoed bags and treasure them.  They are currently beautiful classic creations and will be more of a collectable?  SLP will not work as in insignia logo…just too clumsy.  I will treasure anything with YSL on it…now and for years to come!

  • ColoradoLady

    The YSL retrospective is in Denver until July 8th and is the only venue in the USA.  After seeing it and understanding al Yves had accomplished, I wouldn’t change that logo for anything!  I wouldn’t mind if the name was changed to Hedi Slimane for YSL so that the brand is continued.  It’s like changing the LV for Louis Vuitton!  It just isn’t right!!!  However, all of you dissing the brand now, I think NOW is the time to celebrate Yves and scarf up the “Y” logoed bags and treasure them.  They are currently beautiful classic creations and will be more of a collectable?  SLP will not work as in insignia logo…just too clumsy.  I will treasure anything with YSL on it…now and for years to come!

  • MsLabelOfLust

    it’s an unnecessary change especially for such an iconic brand. smdh

  • H&M

    WTH??!!?? Bad idea ever!!! STUPID!!!

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  •  It is so cool I think
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  • Julie_gallaher

    I really like this
    Yves Saint Laurent! so amazing!

  • telly

    Do you think you should buy the y bags or not? Like will they become more of a collectible now? or not?

  • Ladybag

    Was supposed to buy a mini chyc yday. 2 costumers were also buying the same. We changed our mind when the sales lady told us theyre changing the brand name.big mistake for hedi. Will get another balenciaga or proenza instead.