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Saint Laurent Breaks Up with Influential Parisian Retailer Colette Over Parody T-Shirt


Image composite: Getty & What About Yves

Saint Laurent has pulled a large amount of merchandise from the influential Parisian store Colette, ending a 15-year relationship.

The reason? The French fashion house was offended by the boutique's 300-item stock of parody T-shirts that display the slogan, "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" (a reference to designer Hedi Slimane's controversial move to rebrand the womenswear line immediately after joining the company).

Despite initially alienating the press by implementing the name change and imposing a sweeping new vision on the house, Saint Laurent is reportedly selling extremely well. Well enough, apparently, that the brand can afford to forgo Colette's business, which might have amounted to retail sales of over one million euros this season, according to The New York Times (the wholesale order was placed at 211,531 euros). In a more symbolic gesture, Saint Laurent rescinded creative director and retail manager Sarah Andelman's invitation to the label's Spring 2014 runway show.

Separately, the publisher for Document, an independent magazine, contacted Andelman to cancel a forthcoming event, informing her that the store could no longer carry the publication because one of its covers was photographed by Slimane. 

Considering the Saint Laurent designer's fascination with youth and subcultures, it's surprising that Slimane is so hostile to this vein of satirical streetwear — a growing trend which hinges on pop culture's infatuation with high-end fashion. WWD notes that Colette carries other items which parody prestige brands like CélineHermès and Karl Lagerfeld. These parody pieces are displayed on another floor, separate from the designer wares. 

YSL would not comment on the story, telling WWD that the company's dealings with retailers are confidential. We've reached out to What About Yves, the makers of the contentious T-shirts, for their response to these developments — we'll update when we hear back.