Hedi Slimane Leaves Saint Laurent

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This is no April Fools. After months and months of speculation, this morning Kering confirmed that after a four year tenure at the French fashion house, Hedi Slimane is parting ways with Saint Laurent. In a statement today Kering announced that the designer's departure comes at the end of a "four-year mission, which has led to the complete repositioning of the brand." Though rumours have been abounding since late last year of Slimane's exit, the fashion gossip mill went into overdrive earlier this week when Saint Laurent revealed Cara Delevingne as the face of "La Collection de Paris". Delevingne first modelled for Slimane at Saint Laurent in 2013, for his grunge collection, and his move to pick the 23 year-old supermodel who had supposedly retired from fashion, seemed like a poignant decision which went full circle to his beginnings with the brand. François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, asserted in a joint statement with Saint Laurent today: "What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the house. I am very grateful to Hedi Slimane, and the whole Yves Saint Laurent team, for having set the path that the house has successfully embraced, and which will grant longevity to this legendary brand." And indeed Slimane has left his stamp on the legendary French fashion house, transforming the brand with his signature rock and roll, grunge glamour aesthetic. While critics initially doubted that his skinny chic signature style would catch on with the traditional YSL customer, his reinvention of the house in fact saw sales rocket and Saint Laurent is now one of the fastest-growing luxury brands in Europe. Saint Laurent recorded revenues of 974 million euros last year across 142 retail spaces which is significantly less stores than competitor brands like Chanel, Gucci, Dior, or Louis Vuitton. So who will succeed Slimane? It looks likely the Versus designer Anthony Vaccarello, 33, is set to fill Slimane's shoes at Saint Laurent, though this morning's official statement only reveals that "a new creative organisation for the house will be communicated in due course." Slimane's departure has already sparked speculation surrounding his next move. Will he focus more on photography? Will he set up his own label? Will he head to Dior? Well, we'll have to wait and see but his departure certainly reaffirms the seismic changes occurring in fashion, as star designers such as Alber Elbaz and Raf Simons step down from leading luxury labels. Though no one knows exactly what's ahead for the industry, change is afoot in fashion.

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