Tag: hedi slimane

Hedi VS YSL

Let me start this off by saying I loved this season’s YSL show. I’m excited to see what more Anthony Vaccarello is going to do. But let me also say, I didn’t notice too big a shift between this season and Hedi’s work. In fact, if I didn’t know the creative director had changed I probably would never have guessed it. The stand out piece from the show were the YSL shaped heels. They were so killer. I actually posted a photo of them on my Instagram. To me they were logomania in the best way possible. Slightly vulgar but also cool as hell.

The YSL logo has been an issue of contention for Hedi Slimane, the departed designer who seems to be having real issues with his former employer. Hedi was accused of trying to do away with the YSL logo (which makes sense as he changed the house’s name to Saint Laurent Paris from Yves Saint Laurent) but he claims that this is not the case. In fact, he went on a Twitter rant detailing the many times in which he used the logo and promoted it. I’m not sure why he felt compelled to address this but whatever.

https://twitter.com/hedislimanetwit/status/784180169330331648

I am curious to know what actually went down between him and the company. There still seems to be drama that has not yet been played out and as we know his departure was rather sudden and (sort of) unexpected. For one, profits were at a high. So why did he really go? I read a good comment on a Fashionista article where someone theorised that he promised the owners a billion in sales and then he could do couture and they didn’t give him couture when he made that money so he left. That sounds plausible to me. I guess if we stay tuned on Twitter we may find out sometime soon…

St Elmo’s Fire, Eighties Fashion, and Today’s Minimalism

The 80s was the decade that produced, in my opinion, some of the best films of all time. Honestly, it’s just the kitsch factor. I love the costumes, the set design, the soundtracks, the colours, the carefree characters. Think of all the amazing apartments that you’ve seen in an 80s movie or all the fun that the characters have that you wish you could be a part of. It is pure escapism into a time gone by, a time that we will never get back. This is pre-iPhone, pre-social media, pre-mass use of internet even!

St Elmo’s Fire wasn’t actually a great film. There wasn’t much going on in it and there was no real moral of the story, or reason for even making the film. However, the one thing that I really took away from it was how insanely good Demi Moore looked. Although her character was meant to be coked up throughout the entire movie she still wore some great, quintessential eighties outfits and looked damn good doing so.

I’m feeling slight Holly Golightly vibes in the top right photo

The satin strapless dress she wore dancing made the think of Hedi Slimane’s last collection for Saint Laurent. I’m currently loving the editorials that have accompanied this collection as I think they so perfectly capture a mood, a fun excessive nature that I wish we could go back to, and I find it incredible how stylists are managing to pull together so many pieces that have the same vibe and work together – Vogue Paris’ August 2016 cover and the accompanying editorial is a good example. It’s really incredible to see.

Vogue Paris August 2016 – shot by David Sims. I found the styling of this to be very 80s, right down to the slight blurring effect on the photo. Very Chris von Wangenheim (see below).

After the shift towards minimalism in the 90s until the mid-2000s when prints and colour erupted again, we have once again reached the place in the cycle where minimalism reigns. We mostly wear black and neutrals. We don’t wear shiny satin or fake pearls or crimp our hair. Where is the fun? Watching movies set in the 80s makes me wish I was a teenager during that time, or even a young graduate, so I could dress like that and not give a damn how ridiculous I looked. I want the shoulder pads, the comically oversized proportions, the satin, the hairstyles, the costume jewellery, the long gloves (or even fingerless ones), the cool attitude. Who will have the same effect on teenagers’ style nowadays as Madonna did in the 80s? Rihanna?

I’m assuming there will be a move away from minimalism fairly soon. The most recent round started in, I’m going to estimate, 2011/2012? Therefore perhaps in another few years we will be taking a walk on the wild side. All I know is that when I’m old and I look at photos of myself in my twenties, I want to be dressed in a way that I will think was so cool and exciting. Right now I just dress boring, because that’s where we are at right now. I do love the clothes I have and I love minimalism, but deep down inside I long for more. Maybe Hedi’s final collection’s influence will be real and widespread, but I think minimalism still has another few years left before it fades. Gucci is helping too, although aesthetically I don’t enjoy the clothing.

Gia Carangi shot by Chris von Wangenheim, late 1970s

There is a true connection between politics and fashion. Fashion cannot exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection on the world. When times are tough, style evolves. When times are good, normally economically, style stays stagnant. Often the most over-the-top, excessive designs come about when economies are on a downturn. It’s almost like a rebellion against it, or even merely a distraction. Balmain rose to popularity once again during the Great Recession of 2008. Christophe Decarnin’s bejewelled rocker get-ups soared in popularity. The excesses of the 80s came about at a time when Ronald Reagan was president and America was facing a series of budget cuts which affected the average citizen. The AIDS epidemic broke out and was ignored by the President, and during that time fashion became increasingly flamboyant. With the upcoming Presidential election in America and the impending exit of Obama, what will happen to fashion? Will there be a knock-on effect? Perhaps it won’t be pronounced straight away as often subtle changes take a while to become apparant, but maybe in 5 years time we will look back to 2017 (assuming changes begin after the new president is inaugurated) as the year that everything changed again. The cycle keeps on going, the world keeps on spinning.

Saint Laurent Fall 2016
Saint Laurent Fall 2016

Who Is Going to Gucci?

The recent news of the departure of Frida Giannini and her husband, CEO, Patrizio di Marco from Gucci poses the question: who will replace them? Or, more importantly, her? Now I, for one, don’t really care about who the new CEO is because that will not change anything for me: the CEO is very much behind the scenes with their impact on the designs practically non-existent. I do care about who will become the new creative director, however, even if the internet seems rather unfussed: google Gucci and the news of the departure of their head designer doesn’t even come up on the first page.

I am a Frida Giannini fan so when I found out that she was leaving I was saddened. However, I often feel like I stand alone in liking her as she is often heavily criticised online for reasons I am unsure of. I feel that in the past few seasons Gucci’s collections had really improved and were clothes that I would want to spend money on, if I had it… For the past few seasons Gucci’s campaigns have been some of my favourites, their clothes often the most copied and their business seemed to be reaching new heights with the introduction of the beauty line, something that Giannini was involved with. She doesn’t officially depart until after the Fall 2015 collection which will, like the previous few collections, likely be met with praise from the press. If you look at reviews from style.com, vogue.co.uk and a few other publications the past few seasons have been viewed as largely positive. She has left citing personal reasons and I hope that she returns to fashion at some point in the future.

A lot of the criticism for Frida stemmed from the fact that she was not Tom Ford. A rather preposterous reason to dislike somebody, or their work more so, but this is fashion and that is how it works. She took over from Tom Ford in 2004 whose departure a hell of a lot of people are still not over. Frida’s Gucci woman was completely different from Mr Ford’s who is known for his sexed up designs and that is one thing that she always had against her. Although fashion is rooted in continual change, an often unhealthy nostalgia for the past can be prominent. Another hurdle that Frida had to overcome was the world economic crisis that began in the late 2000s. If the entire world, pretty much, is in recession people naturally will have less money and the first thing that will go is luxuries. For that reason, many brands’ sales took a hit – Gucci included. Sales at Gucci have been stagnant for years. Where some brands have seen meteoric rises (like Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent whose retail increase has been reported at 40% after his rebrand of YSL and 28% in the past year), Gucci has remained steady and in an industry where the only way is up, staying still is very much a negative. Some of the failure can be put down to Gucci’s heavily branded image, something that was very popular in the early 2000s but has diminished now. Luxury, nowadays, is understated. The joy doesn’t come in having a brand name or logo splashed all over a bag but by knowing that your bag is made of the finest leather by the most skilled workers: Gucci didn’t catch up with that.

Still, it is not a bad brand: for that reason alone it should be easy to get a new designer. However, it is choosing the new designer that will be the hardest part. Now obviously all of us on the internet are not involved with the inner workings of Gucci, we do not know what is going on. The brand released a statement saying that the new creative director has not yet been named and the uncertainty has just led to meaningless speculation, something that I am going to join in with. Now the name that is most commonly thrown around is Hedi Slimane, the previously mentioned creative director at Saint Laurent. In his short time back at Saint Laurent (he joined up again in 2012 after 4 years in the menswear division between 1996 and 2000 where he popularised the skinny suit) he has done a lot – perhaps an understatement? He has re-branded from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris, a move that sparked much controversy and those god-awful “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves” t-shirts that caused him to pull the brand from Collette in Paris. However, even if you don’t like his change of name it is undeniable that is has had brilliant results for the brand business-wise. Sales have grown massively and continue to do so season upon season, he has grown a near cult-like following of people who will buy whatever he produces. It seems like a great idea for Gucci to hire him then, no? I mean, I know he is the most likely candidate for the job but in a way, I hope that he doesn’t get it: no ill feelings Hedi. My reason is not that I dislike him (because I do like him) but because I think he is doing great at Saint Laurent and think it would be a shame to see him go so quickly. I think it would be unnecessary for him to leave so quickly and at a brand that he has quickly made his own. Furthermore, if he left Saint Laurent somebody would have to replace him there and I cannot think of anybody better for the job than him, he has made himself almost irreplaceable.

So if Hedi is not the man for the job, then who is? So many names have been thrown around that it is difficult to make sense of it all. If a creative director is poached from another brand then they need to be replaced, leading to a round of fashion musical chairs, or as Suzy Menkes put it, Candy Crush. Of course, it could be an internal hire. Gucci will have a strong design team in-house already so perhaps a promotion could be on the horizon? That seems unlikely however. I feel that they will be looking for an already established name to make a splash. Riccardo Tisci’s name has come up in conversation but that has quickly been shut down by the media citing his contract with LVMH as the main reason. (I like him there so I hope he stays.) Christopher Kane has been mentioned, mainly because he worked for Versus Versace for a while and Kering, Gucci’s owner, has a majority stake in his own brand.

My favourite name that has come up is Joseph Altuzarra, designer of the brand of the same last name. I am aware that these are all just rumours but I think he would be perfect for the brand, despite the fact that he is already creative director of his own brand. Now I don’t exactly love it when designers design for multiple brands at once (think Alexander Wang at his mainline, Balenciaga, T diffusion line and his new denim line) but sometimes it works. For example, Alexander Wang has produced stellar collections for all of his own lines and the Balenciaga brand since his appointment but you can’t help but wonder if it is too much for one person to do. You wonder how involved they really are, questioning if it is just their name on the line and their face at the end of the runway show or if they are actually hands-on at all of their jobs. Or think of Karl Lagerfeld who has simultaneously designed for Chanel and Fendi, amongst other projects for decades now. It often works, often doesn’t. Now I don’t want Altuzarra to overwork himself or stretch himself too thin, especially since his brand is a relatively new one, but I do think that Gucci would be a great brand for him to grow at. For one, he does that whole classy-sex-appeal thing very well, something that is key to Gucci’s brand. Secondly, he is a good designer and that has been noted by Kering who bought a stake in his company already. Altuzarra won the CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year award this year and has received much critical acclaim, making Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the past. Whatever happens, he has good investment in his brand, that much-needed talent and the means to grow – whether that is within Gucci or his own brand only time will tell.

We don’t find out who is going to be the new creative director until Gucci decides to reveal it to us so everything until then is pure speculation: enjoyable but slightly worthless. Will they do what is predicted and hire Hedi Slimane, a man who has transformed the Saint Laurent brand and could potentially do the same for Gucci? Or will they take a risk and hire a newer but known designer such as Joseph Altuzarra? Or will they shock us all and do an internal hire or even more surprising, hire an unknown, fresh-out-of-school designer? Only time will tell and until then it is all uncertain. What we do know for sure is that Frida Giannini is designing one last collection, Fall 2015, and we should enjoy it whilst we can. Until then, may the excitement of the unknown fuel the fashion fire.