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.