If we've learned anything this summer, it's that Hedi Slimane is not one to tread lightly. No, Slimane is the kind of man who
- Quits his job, Extremely Successful Fashion Designer for One of the Most Legendary, Most Prestigious Labels in the Whole Entire World (Dior Homme).
- Switches careers for a few years.
- Switches back — this time to design for a different but equally legendary/prestigious fashion house — only to dismantle everything.
I'm talking, of course, about Slimane's "Day 1" decision to change the name of Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris. After inserting the word "Paris" into the label's name, he promptly relocated the base of operations to Los Angeles. That is hubris.
Next, Slimane had the chance to showcase his radical new genius vision for YSL/SLP's future with his first-ever ad for the fashion brand. And he squandered that opportunity by choosing to use a photo of musician Christopher Owens' back and side-arm. For a fashion brand, the debut image is relatively low on fashion: there's some messy hair and two prominent tattoos and also some sexy, ripply ribs, but zero items of clothing.
WWD (which is, by the way, still using the abbreviation "YSL") managed to track down a rep and get a statement: "A YSL spokeswoman described the campaign as 'institutional,' to convey an atmosphere, with the Owens spot the first of 15 different images." And for sure: another crop of Saint Laurent Paris images have just leaked online, spotlighting the label's eyewear. And so now we can definitely confirm that the very first ad did a shoddy job "convey[ing] the atmosphere" of the brand under Slimane. Apart from the monochromatic scheme, the eyewear campaign has nothing in common with the moody, rock-n-roll campaign debut — the models are wearing clothing! you can see their faces!