EXIT RUMORS CONFIRMED
Whispered rumors circulate Hedi Slimane’s next move, meanwhile, exclamation marks follow Anthony Vaccarello’s official takeover as Creative Director of the maison Yves Saint Laurent. Massimiliano Giornetti out. Demna Gvasalia in. Alber Elbaz out. Slimane is the fourth designer of a major fashion house to hand down creative reins after less than five years. This isn’t the usual arrivals and departures schedule reserved for fashion’s elite, so what’s in the air?
The designer exit is becoming a routine of gossip that’s confirmed with enigmatic goodbyes and retrospective sendoffs. This latest saga is no different, except that 390,000 YSL fans fell objected to the company’s digital transition, sparking a dialog on the complexities and etiquettes of fashion breakups.
In a quiet move that spoke volumes, the Yves Saint Laurent team disgorged their Instagram account leaving followers with one singular post: a portrait of Vaccarello’s captioned, “ANTHONY VACCARELLO APPOINTED AS CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MAISON YVES SAINT LAURENT #ANTHONYVACCARELLO #YSL #SAINTLAURENT”.
With sad face emojis and #confused #WTFs, fans eagerly doled out a slew of emotional proclamations either praising the brand for confidence or roaring with disapproval. Users found the blunt stance a seemingly “teenage-ish” move that crotchety shoved Hedi Slimane to the side. A reactionary response to a bad breakup? A hubristic cry for attention? Or simply a chance to wipe the screen clean? The Yves Saint Laurent brand has only been active on Instagram since the beginning of 2016, and all backlog via Facebook and Twitter remains intact. Yet for admirers who identify with the man of many muses, this wipeout of Slimane’s presence has understandably become shrouded in questions over the brand’s regard for its devoted customers and creative legacy. However, in our present-day sartorial landscape, answers to such concerns are complicated at best.
For luxury brands keen on standards of exclusiveness, such a refresh offers shock value and an interesting opportunity for new visions to manifest. In August, DKNY essentially rebooted their Instagram and Twitter history when Donna Karen stepped down, and then the brand’s social media persona Aliza Licht, @DKNYPRGirl, also parted ways with the company.
In the wake of fall’s exits, these “rebellious” social media movements might inject a bit of insouciance, but mostly they cue the unavoidable realization that the fashion system is as complicated as it is beautiful. When relentless seasonal calendars are coupled with overflowing development schedules and press to-dos atop contractual disagreements...Designers and fashion houses are inevitably clicking with more and more cautious.
The founder Yves Saint Laurent, himself, was at his house for 40 years. Fast-forward. Even with profound visionary success and significantly prosperous earnings, Slimane’s tenure spanned four years. Now Vaccarello’s talents will dovetail into the Yves Saint Laurent DNA and reset the cycle once again.
Our notions of what fashion is, and what it can be, has become inextricably linked to the iconic representations that the luxury market imposes. However, if the fashion makers don’t start pursuing smarter restructurings, then the fairytale of legendary designers could seize to exist as we know it. Whatever the solution, four years certainly seems too short a time-frame for any designer to be proverbially or digitally wiped out.