It's Official, Hedi Slimane Is Leaving Yves Saint Laurent

News confirmed in a joint statement

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After months of rumours, Yves Saint Laurent and Kering confirmed in a joint statement today that the designer will be leaving his role as creative director of YSL.

This follows a show in Paris last month in which Slimane chose to reveal the AW16 collection in a surprisingly intimate way with a radically reduced guest list of editors in chief only, prompting the industry to speculate that the show would be his last for the house. 

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'What Yves Saint Laurent has achieved over the past four years represents a unique chapter in the history of the house. I am very grateful to Hedi Slimane, and the whole Yves Saint Laurent team, for having set the path that the house has successfully embraced, and which will grant longevity to this legendary brand,' the chairman and CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault said in a statement.

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Kering said Slimane's exit arrives at the end of a 'four-year mission, which has led to a complete repositioning of the brand.' Some might say repositioning is an understatement.

When Slimane joined the house in 2012, he promptly started controversy when he adjusted the brand's iconic name, changing it from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent, and revealed a boldly rock and roll, commercial aesthetic.

It sold well. Last year, the brand's sales increased 26%. And since joining the house in 2012, sales have grown from €253.7 million in 2011 to €973.6 million in 2015. 

Francesca Bellettini, chief executive of YSL, said, 'the direction that has been taken over the last four years represents an incredible foundation for the brand to build on for its continuous success.'

The announcement is hardly a surprise.

Editors had been questioning Slimane's future with the house for months, with speculation reaching a peak at his splashy AW16 men's show in Los Angeles with a starry audience that included Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Bonet and Zoe Kravitz.

And when Slimane chose to eliminate his trademark rock and roll production altogether in favour of a quieter (literally: there was no music, only an MC announcing each look by number), smaller, salon presentation for a curveball women's couture show weeks later in Paris, some in the industry became convinced the move was his grand finale. 

So who will be up next?

All eyes seem to be on Anthony Vaccarello, the Italian designer Donatella Versace tapped to take the helm at Versus last January who Women's Wear Daily reports is expected to start on May 1. But for now, we wait. In its statement, Kering said, 'a new creative organization for the House will be communicated in due course.'

Update: Anthony Vaccarello has given his resignation at Versus, stepping down from his role as creative director. 'While I'm sad to see him leave the Versace family, I wish Anthony Vaccarello tremendous success with his next chapter,' Donatella Versace said in a statement today. And if reports are to be believed, chances are high his next chapter will be the YSL job. 

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