When Hedi Slimane decided to change the name of the house of Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris, many people did not agree with what he was doing. We were among the critics ourselves. But Slimane has come out with a response that has made us rethink our original dismissal of his rebranding.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Slimane explains that the name change is actually a revival of an interesting piece of fashion history. In 1966 (the same year that the house came out with the famed Le Smoking suit), YSL began producing ready-to-wear using the name Saint Laurent Rive Gauche as part of a push to democratize fashion.
“It is interesting to see how much reaction this retro branding has created. Clearly, this period of the history of the house was not well-known, which I trust was a surprise for Pierre Bergé [Saint Laurent's long-term partner]. I went back to 1966 – just before the events of 1968 [when 11 million workers revolted against the conservative politics of then-President Charles de Gaulle - the biggest general strike in history], but the awakening of youth was in the air, and Yves Saint Laurent wanted to dissociate himself from the clientele of haute couture and embrace this new generation.”
No wonder Pierre Bergé is totally on board with Slimane’s rebranding scheme. It’s great that Slimane wants to recall Saint Laurent’s mission to make fashion more democratic. Too bad that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to afford anything from his first collection for the house, which is reportedly fabulous! At any rate, we’re interested to see where his vision leads the brand. What are your thoughts on the name change?