It was in 2012 that newly appointed creative director, Hedi Slimane announced that Yves Saint Laurent’s ready to wear line would simply be known as Saint Laurent. There was a lot of furor, but it was a direct nod to history. The ready to wear line was launched in 1966 as Saint Laurent River Gauche, in contrast to the couture collection Yves Saint Laurent. And YSL had quit the couture game since 2002, with the eponymous designer himself presenting the last couture collection while declaring famously that “couture is dead.”
Since then, YSL produced mostly ready to wear. Until now.
A feature on NY Times this morning announced that YSL is launching a new collection even more exclusive than couture. And they’re renaming it the Yves Saint Laurent collection.
Not every rich person would be able to buy the collection. You have to be approved by Hedi Slimane himself. And no one truly knows what the qualifications will be, except that Slimane hinted at various high value celebrity events like Cannes and Oscars. In other words, he’s doing couture the way couture used to be done in the 20s to late 60s era.
It’s a brilliant marketing move for a brand that has already seen growth of 24% in the past year. This pushes it back into the spheres inhabited by perennial exclusives like Hermes. If you spot someone in Saint Laurent, you know they spent a good bit of money to look great.
But if you spot them in Yves, you know they’ve got a bit more than money going for them. And in a world where everyone wants to be part of the in crowd, that’s bound to attract some attention.