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That was the news of the week. After 45 years of existence and the explosive arrival of Hedi Slimane to the company as Artistic Director, the company Yves Saint Laurent has decided to change name. It will become simply Saint Laurent Paris.


History of fashion showed that creators founded Houses of creation, that became Brands and finally labels. Christian Dior became Dior, Loris Azzaro becomes Azzaro, Cristobal Balenciaga becomes Balenciaga, Nino Cerutti is now Cerutti, Emanuel Ungaro is Ungaro or Gianni Versace is simply Versace. We could also add Thierry Mugler that now is Mugler.

It is interesting to see that basically we skip the first names of the creators as a strong symbol to dissociate the person and the Brand. By using the last name, the Brand becomes a label, like Puma or Nike or Apple. On one side we skip history and a creator, in another side we give room to new people. That is the case for Yves Saint Laurent now.

Since the arrival of Hedi Slimane at the head of Creation of the french luxury house, things were very clear. “Mr. Slimane has full powers to decide on all matters of creation.”. That was said by the general management of the company. But nobody thought he would dare to change the name of the company. Even Stefano Pilati, the creation director of the House for more than 8 years did not dare to do such a thing.

But Mr Slimane is not at his first trial. Just remember. When he arrived as Creation director of Christian Dior Monsieur, he just turned it into Dior Homme (by Hedi Slimane).


Some financial analysts say that it is a clever move. Using just Saint Laurent Paris brings 2 advantages according to them:
– Easy to spell it and to pronounce it by an international clientele.
– The link with Paris also highlights the luxury aspect and the company origins.

This is barely what I would call Marketing Bull Sh…..! This thinking is a purely financial, non-competent opinion that would bring many changes in the world if we would use this rationale to everything. Why should we say Rio de Janeiro for a city that drives millions of tourists each year. Or why using car names like Mitsubishi or Hunday? Too complicate. why not using only names like Apple, Nike, Nivea, Lego, Puma, Audi, Pepsi… ?

I can see the face of some people if we would say that Ferrari becomes ItalyCar  ( easier for tourists) and that Tiffany’s would be Fany. Frankly people who are part of the Yves Saint Laurent clients (the real ones not the aspirational ones) know the brand and know how to pronounce it. So what is going to happen with the famous 3 letter initials YSL?


We will probably have SL or SLP. In google, if you search for YSL, there is no way to get it wrong, you get the french couture brand. Just try to search for SL. You get Mercedes. Try also to search for SLP. You get Seiko. Simply as that. You cannot erase history.

Now, the real question is WHY? I mean the real WHY? Is Mr Slimane so egocentric that he needs to erase the heritage of a brand in order to write its future? Is it something that General Management were looking for and they used the arrival of a new creative director to make the move? We do not know. When Mr Slimane arrived at Christian Dior Monsieur, definitely there was not much to keep from the past as it was a dying brand. He gave a future to it. But here, at YSL, we are not facing the same situation at all.

We know that in 1966, the french couture house used to be named Saint Laurent. It was people like Tom Ford in 1998 that pushed the 3 word brand everywhere. Today we could read Pierre Berger’s interview in the press about this news. He was “cooperative” more than a real enthusiast.

Please also note that the entire Creation studio of the french house is going to move to Los Angeles. So to summarize: designed in California and made in… Italy. And they still dare to use the word Paris….:-(

So here is a red card!



info sourced at Liberation next and luxury daily news. All images are copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.