Celebrating 50 Years of YSL

Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of legendary French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.  The brand was founded in 1962 by the namesake designer and his partner Pierre Berge.  Throughout YSL’s 50 year history the fashion house has come to be known as a leader in innovative and, at times, controversial styles.  Yves Saint Laurent was a pioneer in creating menswear-inspired looks for women – including pantsuits, blazers, tuxedos and leather jackets.  YSL was also the first designer label to use black models on their catwalk and to popularize ready-to-wear fashion lines in order to make the YSL brand more accessible.  Perhaps the most controversial move in YSL’s recent past is their much-talked about decision to re-brand.  According to popular gossip, Yves Saint Laurent will be renamed Saint Laurent Paris.

The name change comes from under the direction of new creative head Hedi Slimane. Slimane took this post in February of 2012, replacing Stefano Pilati (who had replaced Tom Ford in 2004).  Re-branding is nothing new to Slimane, who was behind the shake-up in the Dior menswear line.  He famously changed Christian Dior Monsieur to Dior Homme in 2001 (someone clearly has a thing against first names!).

A mock re-branding of the iconic fashion label

The initial name change announcement was met with mixed reviews.  Some critics feared the switch from YSL to SLP would cause loyal fans of the brand to feel abandoned and that the new name hinted at a less sophisticated audience.  Others felt the name change was another example of YSL’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve and an excuse to drum up some publicity.  Recent reports are insisting that YSL is actually not changing its name.  Only the ready-to-wear line will be known as Saint Laurent Paris while the beauty products and official company name will remain Yves Saint Laurent.

Hedi Slimane, creative head of YSL

While the fashion world waits to see whether YSL will become SLP and what exactly Slimane has planned for the brand (his menswear and resort collections were only shown to buyers and not critics), we’ll simply say: Happy 50th Birthday…whatever your name is!

Do you think SLP is a smart move or do you wonder why Slimane is messing with a good thing? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!


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