In a move that confirms rumors that have swirled around Paris ever since YSL announced the departure of its current creative director, Stefano Pilati, YSL confirmed today that Hedi Slimane will be named the brand's new creative director.
The formal announcement comes on the heels of reports from Suzy Menkes of the Herald Tribune and others who had reported that YSL would soon confirm the news.
Rumors of Pilati's departure have dogged the designer for months, so news that he was leaving the label was not entirely a surprise, though considering the other high-level designer departures of late -- Raf Simons leaving Jil Sander, the still-empty slot at the top of Dior -- the announcement certainly set the town aflutter. Pilati staged a great collection on Monday that earned him a standing ovation -- to his credit, he gave the audience a big smile at his final bow -- and now there is a lot of interest around the somewhat enigmatic Slimane, who up until now had left fashion behind for a career in photography.
The announcement stressed that Slimane would take "total creative responsibility for the brand image and all its collections," and that he will also continue to pursue the photography career that he began when he left Dior Homme in 2007.
In a statement, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of YSL parent PPR said, "As one of the most important French fashion houses, Yves Saint Laurent today possesses formidable potential, which I am confident will be successfully harnessed and revealed through the vision of Hedi Slimane."
CEO Paul Deneve echoed his comments in a separate statement: "Hedi Slimane’s exceptional talent and understanding of the spirit of Yves Saint Laurent heralds a promising new chapter in the story of the maison."
The appointment will be a return to YSL for Slimane, who was the menswear designer at YSL from 1996-2000. According to WWD, Slimane may show his first collection for the brand -- Resort -- as early as June.