Today isn’t the first time we’ve heard a rumor suggesting that designer Hedi Slimane is going to take over the creative director’s chair at Yves Saint Laurent, but for some reason, the industry is now taking the prospect a little more seriously.
On Saturday, Women’s Wear Daily quoted an unnamed source in Paris as saying that Slimane, who was director of men’s design at YSL from 1996 to 2002, is primed to take over as YSL’s creative director when Stefano Pilati‘s contract with the company expires next month. The French fashion label hasn’t decided yet whether it will extend its contract with Pilati, but his tenure at the company has been plagued with consistent rumors that his days there are numbered.
As far as anyone can tell, though, Pilati is doing a good job and has been for years. PPR, the company that owns YSL, Gucci and Alexander McQueen, reported earlier this year that Pilati’s strong handbag and shoe designs helped YSL take a “giant step” in its profitability — and his clothing has been selling well since he took over the job from Tom Ford in 2004. Why the company would want to mess with a winning formula is a mystery to us.
What further complicates things is the fact that Slimane has never really done a women’s collection before. When he left YSL in 2002, he became the design director at Dior Homme and popularized the super skinny aesthetic that has dominated the menswear market ever since. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t do the job — he’s clearly a capable designer — we just think it’s strange that such a big brand would replace a successful women’s designer with an untested men’s suit expert.
But there you have it. People are talking, but we’ll wait on official word before we start buying into the idea.