Some people are so touchy.
Now that Hedi Slimane has settled in as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, and his collections are selling well, his famous temper has not cooled. The latest object of his ire is not a critical fashion writer, however, but the influential Paris boutique Colette, which has been selling millions of dollars worth of YSL merchandise since 1998 through a string of designers for the house's various labels including Alber Elbaz, Tom Ford, Stefano Pilati and Slimane's original tenure as mens's designer for what was then the Rive Gauche collection. "We have been excommunicated," the store's creative director Sarah Andleman tells WWD, “There is no respect for all the work we did in the past.”
Slimane's famous wrath was incurred by a spoof t-shirt by the brand Reason Clothing that reads "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" printed in the style of the brand's logo (pictured above), and makes light of Slimane's controversial decision to rename the company's pret-à-porter collections simply "Saint Laurent Paris". As a "concept store" dedicated to mixing cutting edge style with venerable brands, Colette has been known for cheeky merchandise, and has also carried other t-shirts featuring the street style trend of mocking precious luxury brands like Hermès and Céline without any repercussions from other labels. Reportedly, the store was contacted by Saint Laurent representatives last month and complied when requested to remove the offending shirt form the store's website. Apparently that was not enough to mollify the folks at Saint Laurent whose CEO later informed Andleman by letter that she was damaging the brand by selling "counterfeit" merchandise, all outstanding merchandise orders, including those for next Spring, were being cancelled, and that she was disinvited from the Saint Laurent Spring 2014 runway show which took place last night.
Particularly miffed as a supporter of not only Saint Laurent, but also Slimane's tenure as designer of Dior Homme, Andleman went public because she felt that as a smaller, independent retailer, she was being singled out, and called it an example of the way luxury brands were exerting increasing power over the actions of third party retailers like herself. She noted that other, bigger European stores like Brown's, Selfridges and LuisaViaRoma also sold parody t-shirts without apparently being punished. “I am really shocked because it’s just a T-shirt,” she tells WWD. “There’s no doubt that it’s not a Saint Laurent product.”
Unsurprisingly, representatives for Saint Laurent have declined to comment.
As a target for Hedi Slimane's merciless anger, Colette is in good company. The New York Times' principal fashion critic Cathy Horyn remains persona non-grata at Saint Laurent as per Slimane's orders. Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer Robin Givhan, whose return to runway reporting for New York Magazine's The Cut blog has been a must-read this season, delivered a scathing assessment of Slimane's Spring 2014 collection today calling it "a sucker punch to sophistication; a jab at the very meaning of luxury, a humorless impersonation of cool. And worst of all, it was ugly." Obviously aware of how Horyn's earlier expression of her opinions cost her entry to Saint Laurent, Givhan doesn't seem to care much if this is the last collection designed by Hedi Slimane she ever reviews.
YSL Severs Ties with Colette (WWD)
Givhan: Hedi Slimane’s Assault on Luxury and Beauty at Saint Laurent (The Cut/NYMag)