Photo: Courtesy of What About Yves.
Hedi Slimane was not amused by Colette's decision to stock T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" alongside his own Saint Laurent designs. Yesterday, Sarah Andelman, who owns the Parisian boutique, announced that Saint Laurent had broken ties with the store for stocking the T-shirts by What About Yves.
When asked to remove the offending garments in early September, Andelman apparently agreed to stop selling them online, but said that she would off-load remaining stock in her Paris store, which she said had happened by September 21. But she told WWD that Saint Laurent then cancelled Colette's spring and resort orders, which totalled around $136,000. “We have been excommunicated,” she said. “There is no respect for all the work we did in the past."
The Parisian concept store has stocked Saint Laurent swag since 1998, and Andelman claims that wholesale orders over the years add up to close to $4 million over the years. She added that Saint Laurent’s reaction was part of a larger problem where labels increasingly attempt to control how and what stores sell. “Should we accept fashion dictatorship?” she said. It's a fair point.
While it's understandable that Slimane might be a tad offended by the slogan, he has been notoriously particular about the label’s rebranding since he took the reins — and he is fast gaining a rep for possessing one for the industry's most sensitive egos. His infamous public spat with Cathy Horyn provides a case point — and the violent reaction to these T-shirt is not going help him on this front.
Colette still carries covetable punny sweatshirts by the likes of Brian Lichtenberg, whose creations riff on brands like Hermès (Homiès) and Cèline (Fèline). But Andelman said that other unnamed major labels have asked her to take down Instagrams of products that parody their name. So, does this mean the era of the high-end parody T-shirt and sweatshirt has officially ended? Either that or designers need to get a sense of humor pronto...