RUMORS CONFIRMED:

Anthony Vacarello To Take Charge At Saint Laurent Starting Now

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Looks from Anthony Vaccarello's Spring 2016 Collection. Image: Michael Marson via AnthonyVaccarello.com

As has been widely expected, Italian-Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello was officially named to replace Hedi Slimane today as creative director of Saint Laurent starting immediately. The rumors were essentially confirmed when, hours earlier, it was announced that he had left his position as the designer for the Versus Versace label. His first collection will be shown in October for the Spring 2017 season. As was also expected, Vaccarello will suspend his own signature label to focus all of his attention on Saint Laurent. It is not known whether or not he will be continuing the invitation-only haute couture line that Hedi Slimane launched last year under the original Yves Saint Laurent label, though parent company Kering has invested in new couture workrooms and a lavishly restored maison which was shown off at Slimane's final prêt-à-porter show in February.
Vaccarello is known for a sexy, sharply tailored aesthetic which should easily follow dovetail with the style that Slimane established during his four years at Saint Laurent. While Slimane spearheaded a top-to-bottom revamping of the company including extensive renovation boutiques and other points of sale, it is unlikely that Vaccarello will be instituting a new retail format or drastically changing things in a similar manner anytime soon. Unlike his colleague at Gucci, Alessandro Michele, whose new retail concept is slowly being rolled out to boutiques and in-store-shops, Vaccarello is not being brought in to inject new excitement into a fading brand. In fact, like Bouchra Jarrar who is soon to begin design duties at Lanvin, he is tasked with keeping things humming after the departure of a designer for whom things had been otherwise going extremely well. A new direction is not exactly what Kering is looking for at Saint Laurent, so Vaccarello will be closely watched this Fall to see if he can continue the momentum that Slimane has created at Saint Laurent while establishing his own identity as a designer.

Saint Laurent Confirms Anthony Vaccarello Hire (WWD)

 


REVOLVING DOOR:

Hedi Slimane Officially Flies The Saint Laurent Coop

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Courtesy Photo

As has been widely rumored since the beginning of the year, Hedi Slimane has officially exited his position as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent.
He ends a four-year tenure characterized by anticipation and controversy as he was given rare authority to rebuild the renowned couture house from the bottom up starting with the feather ruffling rebranding of the ready-to wear as "Saint Laurent" and ending with a restoration of the dormant haute couture collection as an invitation-only venture under the original "Yves Saint Laurent" label. Though he never actually showed a full haute couture show, his final runway collection for Fall 2016, shown in Paris in February, was presented as if it were one, in silence with each look's number announced by Bénédicte de Ginestous who served the same role at Yves Saint Laurent's own haute couture shows. The collection was actually made in the house's couture workrooms, though it is in fact ready-to-wear, and its ad campaign, starring Cara Delevingne photographed by Slimane, was revealed by the designer himself only a few days ago.
Executives from Kering, which owns the business, have been open about the fact that Slimane's contract would end on March 31st, and that they would be negotiating until that point. It is difficult to understand how they couldn't come to terms with the designer to continue, since it appears that they bent over backwards to get him to come to the job in the first place, and the collaboration has been mutually beneficial to say the least. He was allowed to move the design studio to Los Angeles where he lives, and was given the authority to change just about everything about the brand from renaming the prêt-à-porter collections to redesigning the boutiques and in-store shops which were renovated at great expense. The amount of attention and funds lavished on Slimane was so notable that it reportedly rankled Kering's other star designer at Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquiere, enough for him to walk away from the brand he had already reconceived to great acclaim.
Ghesquiere is now comfortably ensconced at the Kering arch-rival LVMH-owned Louis Vuitton, while Balenciaga has just debuted the first collection by his second successor in four years. Now Kering is faced with replacing Slimane. Though not beloved by critics due to both his high-handed treatment of the press and collections that many of them found derivative and repetitive, he is adored by celebrity acolytes, and he managed to catapult Saint Laurent to over $1 billion in sales last year. Rumors have swirled around Belgian born designer Anthony Vaccarello as his replacement. He has his own collection and is also the designer for Versus by Versace. An announcement is expected soon enough for him to start work on Saint Laurent's Spring 2015 collections.
In the meantime, speculation continues about what Slimane's next move will be. It is unlikely that he will fill the most prominent open position in Paris available the moment, creative director at Christian Dior, as it is known to come with far less authority over branding than his now previous job. Slimane had been vocal about the fact that he had no influence over the Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics and fragrance business which is controlled by L'Oréal. Rumors had that as a sticking point in his re-negotiations with Kering, but the conglomerate was not in a position deal on that front. The most likely scenario has Slimane finally starting his own fashion house, presumably based in Los Angeles, but he is expected to take his time. He let a long five years lapse between leaving Dior Homme in 2007 and starting at Saint Laurent in 2012 and, though he now has the experience as a women's designer that would make it much easier to finance a new fashion brand, it is not known if he is in any hurry to jump back into the fray. Until that happens, however, his future moves are likely to be fashion's biggest unanswered questions.

Saint Laurent Confirms Hedi Slimane Exit (WWD)


TEMPORARY LODGINGS:

Saint Laurent To Jump Fifth Avenue
For A While

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We knew this would be happening at some point, but the big Saint Laurent flagship store on east 57th Street is finally about to get the full Hedi Slimane treatment. Now that the SoHo store and three in-store shops at Saks and Bergdorf's (Men's and Women's) have been fully Slimane-ified, they are, apparently, finally getting around to bringing the boutique at 3 East 57th Street up to aesthetic code and having the official store design installed. Regular customers won't have too much trouble finding Saint Laurent's temporary home. It's just on the other side of Fifth Avenue at 3 West 57th Street (above), in the same place that so many other Midtown boutiques (Coach, Chanel, Burberry etc.) have used during their own renovations, but before Saint Laurent moves in, it needs its own sprucing up before it will be suitable to house the super-persnickety designer's collections.
Of course, the least interesting part of this whole scenario is how the permanent Saint Laurent store will look after its makeover. We can pretty much picture it right now, because all Saint Laurent retail spaces look exactly the same now, just as if they were Starbucks or 7-Elevens. We can safely predict that there will be lots of white and black marble with glass and chrome, and probably some boxy, minimalistic black leather upholstered furniture. We like to think that maybe they will surprise us with some unique design touches, but we aren't holding our breath.


FASHION FREEZE-OUT:

Saint Laurent "Excommunicates" Parisian Boutique Colette Over T-Shirt

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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)


JON CARAMANICA GOES SHOPPING:

Luxe Grunge Edition

12SHOP1_SPAN-articleLarge-v2With the Critical Shopper column apparently back in rotation, today's Thursday Styles offers Jon Caramanica's assessment of the Hedi Slimane-ized Saint Laurent boutique in SoHo. Though it's technically not the flagship which is on 57th Street, it is the city's fullest iteration of the creative director's vision for the brand. As has become his habit, Caramanica brings along a friend, this one a lady who has been steeped in high end retailing, to cover the women's sections of the store, and she seems to be having a ball. While he deems the store "gorgeous," our shopper has slightly less luck when it is his turn to try on the goods and the once friendly service suddenly starts to lag,

I picked a few items I wanted to try on and looked around for our clerk, but his doting days were done. First he was gone, then he served another customer, then he pulled the wrong sizes and forgot to bring out all the items. He offered a follow-up call about jeans that weren’t in stock, but never followed through.

And then the illusion falls away. As a menswear designer, our shopper sees Slimane "mostly knocking off himself," which is not a great place to be when you have only been running the show for two seasons.

Critical Shopper: Bridging a Generation Gap at Saint Laurent By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Saint Laurent 80 Greene Street between Prince & Spring Streets, SoHo


SAMPLE SALE CIRCUIT:

Get Up Early For Diane von Furstenberg and YSL (Including the Y)
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One More Shot At Helmut Lang

DVFr13It's going to be a hot week , so wear comfortable clothing when ou are lining up for this week's two Major Sale Events. If you haven't become accustomed to seeing them, expect some more epic lines outside 260 Fifth Avenue starting on Tuesday when DIANE von FURSTENBERG (image at right) finally opens the Sample Sale that everyone thought she was planning to forgo this season. If you can bide your time until Friday, Soiffer Haskin will present one more YVES SAINT LAURENT sale which has been known to create epic lines down West 33rd Street. Expectations should be managed for this one. Note the inclusion of the "Yves" in Soiffer Haskin's notices, meaning that this sale will probably primarily include the Fall 2012 collection —the final one designed by Stefano Pilati and the last to include the classic YSL label. Many sources around the web have commented that the last YSL sale only included up to Spring 2012, so this will most likely be a final clearing out of the previous design team's stock, which will be good for lingering fans of Tribute shoes and Muse bags. However, it's also worth noting that new Hedi Slimane designed "Saint Laurent" labeled shoes and accessories have been showing up recently on Flash Sale sites like RueLaLa, so it's not impossible that some newer merchandise might be included. It has been presumed that new creative director Slimane would not continue with these types of extravaganza sample sales, but we won't know until this weekend for sure. We must also note that Soiffer Haskin announced that they will be checking cellphones at this sale along with bags and outerwear, which seems pointless and inappropriate, but whatever.

Also, if you missed the recent spate of sales from Theory-owned labels, you have another shot starting this Tuesday as yet another (and reportedly better) HELMUT LANG sale begins in SoHo. Indie designer fans can look out for sales from ERIN FETHERSTON, LAUREN MOFFATT especially with shoes from MATT BERNSON and RACHEL COMEY. Elegant Gentlemen can look out for impeccably tailored italian clothes from ISAIA starting on Tuesday. If you are n ambitious home-chef who is totally done buying clothes for the season, you will want to check out the ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS sale starting Wednesday at Chelsea Market which has become an exceptional resource for the brand's fine quality German steel kitchen knives and other cookware. Typical offerings range from the affordable entry level lines to hand-forged, high quality limited edition items and professional Japanese chef's supplies. It's a worthwhile change of pace, especially for kitchen enthusiasts.

Keep an eye on our always-updating SALE ROLL sidebar to the left for details and breaking sales.


SAMPLE SALE FLASH:

The Saint Laurent Sample Sale Lives

JULIA_NOBIS_HD_7When Hedi Slimane began transforming the Yves Saint Laurent brand, many of New York's sample sale shoppers wondered if it would mean the end of the hyper-popular YSL sample sale that put so many Tribute pumps and Muse bags on the feet and in the hands of bargain hunters. The folks at Mizhattan have alerted us that there will indeed be a YSL sample sale once again at Soiffer-Haskin for three days at the end of this month. it will offer Women's clothing, shoes, handbags, small leather goods and jewelry and a "limited selection of Men's clothing" according to Soiffer Haskin's website listing. This sale has been noted for its epic lines and extra aggressive shoppers once inside as it is one of the few bona fide Parisian couture houses that offers a regular sample sale in New York that is freely promoted to the public.

A few caveats:
The sale is listed as "Yves Saint Laurent" on Soiffer Haskin's website rather than using the updated "Saint Laurent, Paris" moniker and logo now on the labels. Skeptics may wonder if this means that what will be offered is leftover merchandise from the Pre-Slimane era. The house's new designer has kept production tighter, and added "permanent" merchandise to the label's offerings to avoid having to turn over basic styles season after season. In addition, he has heightened the brand's sense of exclusivity, which would seem to preclude this kind of high-profile clearance, but we shall see what is being offered next weekend. Either this is your opportunity to get ahold of some new era Saint Laurent, or one last chance to grab your favorite YSL handbag before they are completely unavailable and you have to resort to eBay. See our SALE ROLL at left for more details.

Yves Saint Laurent Sample Sale (Soiffer Haskin)


FIRST LOOKS:

Here Are The Official Photos Of
Saint Laurent's Soho Store

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The Saint Laurent boutique on Greene Street in SoHo is finally open for all to visit. As we predicted, the label has released official photos of the store, and in typically peculiar Hedi Slimane style, the images depict the store in black and white and entirely devoid of merchandise.
Yeah, weird —especially since the space really comes to life when it is stocked, but then perhaps he just wants it to be seen as undead. Who can say?

At any rate, in the gallery above, you can see the soaring ceiling, a hint of the dressing room skylights, the original painted, pressed tin ceiling and the dramatic marble walls. As we saw earlier, the store is currently featuring the label's basic "Permanent" collections for men and women, along with Fall 2013 samples for pre-order. It will reportedly be the first door to receive the Pre-Fall collection sometime this month

Previously:
First Look: A Preview Inside The Finished Saint Laurent Boutique In SoHo


FIRST LOOK:

A Preview Inside The Finished Saint Laurent Boutique In SoHo

YSLsohoDoor_1024It doesn't officially open until Tuesday when the window coverings will come down, but The Shophound got inside the long-awaited and much-discussed Saint Laurent boutique in SoHo over the weekend, and whatever anyone might think about the Hedi Slimane version of the brand, we can confidently say that it is one fabulous boutique.

While we would love our readers to be under the impression that we were specially invited for a preview, the store actually had a "soft" opening over the weekend (while it awaited "full, final approval", we were told), and though the windows were still covered, a doorman was happily admitting pretty much any schmo who wanted to come inside. And also us. Here's what we learned:

  • There's a good reason why the store was moved from Mercer Street to its current space on Greene Street.
    It's simply a better space. It's not surprising that parent company Kering (formerly PPR) would invest the resources to move the store's site for one of it's flagship luxury labels. It's worth it. The same design elements in Slimane's store concept would have looked perfectly impressive in the previous, smaller, lower-ceilinged shop (which will now be converted to a men's store for Kering's other celebrated couture house, Balenciaga), but they look much more striking in a bigger space. You will see the same white silk marble, square chrome racks and fixtures in Saint Laurent shop-in-shops at Bergdorf's and Saks, but they really sing on a grander scale here, where one entire wall is fitted with marble paneling and shelves running its entire length containing meticulously arranged shoes and accessories. One monumental double rack for women's clothes, another for men's and two tall glass cases for more accessories round out the rest of the fixtures leaving lots of airy space. It is all very crisp and pristine which would be intimidating if it weren't the case that...
  • The staff is lovely and welcoming.
    As most New York shoppers know, this is not always what one finds in the city's designer boutiques. When we said that any schmo was welcome in the store, we might have been suggesting that perhaps on an unseasonably hot and humid 85° Sunday afternoon, The Shophound might not have been looking our most elegant. Nobody seemed to care, and the salespeople were personable and engaging, casually joking about how long it took to finally get the store finished and open, and swiftly offering us water. As we turned to head out, one staffer stopped us to make sure we had seen that...
  • The dressing rooms are remarkable.
    Spacious and skylit, they are fitted with a sleek gray velvet covered chair and seven or eight-way mirrors so you will be able to how everything looks from absolutely every angle —even if you may not want to. Also...
  • It turns out that Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent collections look better in person than they do on the runway.
    And the store makes an excellent setting for them. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the merchandise is fully in yet. The racks were mostly filled with samples from the Fall 1023 collections to pre-reserve, but the shelves were well stocked with handbags and shoes, which is probably what they are expecting to sell more of anyway. Are $350 printed t-shirts going to save the brand? Time will tell, but we are guessing that the black $545 boat shoes with white soles are probably being copied (or, rightfully, copied back) at this very moment by Sperry Top-Sider, or at least they should be.

Unfortunately, it wasn't possible for us to get any sneaky photos of the new store. We added the images below from the YSL website to show a basic idea of the store's design elements, but they are from a different boutique. Photos will be taken in the next few days, and we will be sure to link to them as soon as they show up on line. We are guessing that, with this store finished, an even grander revamp is likely in the works soon for the 57th Saint Laurent Street flagship, of course, "soon" is a relative term these days at Saint Laurent with any number of twists along the way.

Saint Laurent Paris 80 Greene Street between Spring & Broome Streets, SoHo
Previously:
BOUTIQUE WATCH: Saint Laurent SoHo Getting Ready To Open Any Day Now

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BOUTIQUE WATCH:

Saint Laurent SoHo Getting Ready
To Open Any Day Now

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It might not be making its reported May opening date, but the Saint Laurent boutique on Greene Street is thisclose to opening. The gold letters are above the door, and when The Shophound breezed by this morning we caught a glimpse of clothes going on racks through a briefly opened door —too brief, alas, to gather photographic proof, but you know we wouldn't make this up. It looks like the store might be open by this weekend if they're fast, and easily next weekend as long as they have enough new merchandise. Stay tuned!

Previously:
Sneak Peek: Peering Inside Saint Laurent's Greene Street Store