Who's going to take Hedi Slimane's job at Saint Laurent? Following rumors that began circulating in January, it was confirmed on April 1st that the designer is leaving the French fashion brand. Slimane served as Saint Laurent's image and creative director for four years.
"A new creative organization for the House will be communicated in due course," the company said in its official statement, so there's been no official word on who Slimane's replacement will be... but everyone's pretty sure the job will go to Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello (WWD, the New York Times, and Business of Fashion among those speculating) — especially since he just announced his departure from Versus Versace today.
A start date of May 1st, one month from now, accompanies all the news and gossip, giving the designer just enough time to get a solid spring collection ready to show by fall.
Anthony... who? Totally fair if you're unaware of the guy; his reputation is pretty fashion world-facing and he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. Consider this your cheat sheet.
Vaccarello is 33 years old — a decade and a half younger than Slimane. A designer in their 30s running a massive French fashion brand is kind of the norm these days, though: Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia is 35 (his predecessor, Alexander Wang, is 32), Balmain's Olivier Rousteing is just 30.
Vaccarello was born in Brussels, Belgium and studied sculpture at La Cambre (Azzedine Alaïa also started as a sculptor, while Raf Simons, who just exited Dior, began his career at a furniture designer).
2006: Wins first place at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography for his collection inspired by Italian porn star La Cicciolina
2009: Joins Fendi
Fall 2010: First collection under his own name (his Vogue Runway archive begins with fall 2011)
2013: Asked by Donatella Versace to act as "guest designer" for her second brand, Versus
2015: Named creative director for Versus, designing both women's and men's (the latter a first for the designer, and something he'll also be responsible for at Saint Laurent). He announced he was leaving the brand on April 4th, 2016.
Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
"The formula (legs! skin! leather!) is not exactly new," Vanessa Friedman wrote last month in her review of Vaccarello's fall 2016 collection. "But there is some enthusiasm about its rediscovery," she noted. These three elements are right in line with the version of Saint Laurent Slimane put forth; ultra-short hemlines and biker jackets reliable cornerstones of each collection. The look seems to be working: Saint Laurent registered its highest operating ever in the second half of 2015, WWD reported.
Whoever is confirmed for the job will be the house's sixth ready-to-wear designer since Yves himself, following Slimane (obviously), Stefano Pilati, Tom Ford, and Alber Elbaz. Quite a legacy to step in to.