Before his first collection hits the runways, Hedi Slimane is already making major changes at Yves Saint Laurent, the first (and most significant possibly since the house was established) being a renaming of the fashion house to Saint Laurent Paris. Shakespeare may think that a rose by any other name is still a rose, but fashion circles are in upheaval over the name change. With over 80 boutiques around the world, the change represents a major investment by the PPR group (which owns YSL, sorry, SLP, and Gucci among other labels) and a significant statement of confidence in Hedi Slimane. “I am very pleased to announce an exciting step in the history of our brand and our business,” Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve said in a statement, reported by Fashionology. “As part of our strategy to become one of the world’s true leaders in fashion and luxury, we are transforming the name of our brand from ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ to ‘Saint Laurent Paris.’
He further added: “The brand identity and visual language will be introduced over the next several months and will be fully in place for the Spring/Summer 2013 collection. This change celebrates our legacy and heritage, while boldly marking our ambition for the future. It will allow us to return to the fundamentals of YSL and revive the spirit and the intentions that reigned over the creation of ‘Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’ in 1966: principles of youth, freedom, and modernity.”
The YSL name and its stylised logo has long been a part of Parisian fashion, and the designer himself was also a notable figure in his daring move when he became the first haute couture designer to introduce a pret-a-porter line. Slimane has already moved the creative house of the company to Los Angeles, and is apparently working on new store concepts that will bear the SLP name. There are no indications as yet whether the change will be throughout every single product, or if certain commercial accessories such as the perfumes, will take on the new name change as well.
What’s in a brand? Is it the name that it bears, or the designs it carries? Most will say a little of each. For us, Yves Saint Laurent (the person and the label) has always been a source of inspiration when it comes to style. When he was alive, the designer was one of the most radical in many ways; few will forget his Rive Gauche advertising campaign shot by Jeanloup Sieff, which was more recently recalled by Marc Jacobs for Bang. Throughout his life, Yves Saint Laurent was a controversial figure; why should the company change after his demise? For many, the real question is how Slimane will continue to evolve the label, regardless of its new or old name.