Slimane will assume ‘total creative responsibility for the brand image and all its collections,’ the house said in a statement, and will maintain his photography practise in conjunction with his fashion work.
‘As one of the most important French fashion houses, Yves Saint Laurent today possesses formidable potential, which I am confident will be successfully harnessed and revealed through the vision of Hedi Slimane,’ Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of YSL owner PPR, said.
YSL CEO Paul Deneve echoed Pinault’s sentiments, saying that Slimane’s ‘exceptional talent and understanding of the spirit of Yves Saint Laurent heralds a promising new chapter in the history of the maison.’
The news comes after months of speculation about the exit of former YSL designer Stefano Pilati and Slimane's possible succession. Slimane will show his first YSL designs in June for the resort collection.
Slimane ushered in the slimmer tailoring and skinny suits that remain prevalent in menswear today during his time at Dior Homme. Although a number of women adopted Slimane’s menswear designs, the YSL appointment marks his first womenswear role.
It also represents, for the fashion industry, an erstwhile star’s longed-for return to fashion after seven years in which Slimane moved to Los Angeles to pursue photography. He is expected to shoot all YSL campaigns himself, just like Karl Lagerfeld, who famously shed serious poundage specifically to fit into Slimane’s Dior Homme suits.
Despite the distance he erected between his new photographer’s life and his old life in Paris, Slimane never discounted the possibility of a return to fashion.
‘I had enough time to define my style precisely,’ he told WWD last year. ‘It would have been different if I had left fashion before having defined it. I also never intended to give up on design, but to take a necessary and healthy distance… I do still love design, and somehow have protected my passion for it.’