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After numerous rumors, today it has been confirmed that Hedi Slimane is officially parting ways with Saint Laurent. This is especially hard-hitting for Angelenos since the former creative director notoriously turned the fashion industry on its head in 2012, when he decided to permanently ditch Paris for Los Angeles to rebelliously rebrand the French fashion house from his Beverly Hills studio.
While the move was definitely a shock to many since Paris is one of the greatest fashion capitals in the world, Slimane's West Coast jump eventually inspired other luxury fashion houses—including Burberry, Tom Ford, and Louis Vuitton—to showcase collections here. There's no doubt that the designer's influential endorsement of our city has helped change the way people view Los Angeles from a fashion standpoint.
As an ode to Slimane's iconoclastic tenure, we've rounded up the designer's six most game-changing Saint Laurent moments from the last four years.
December 2012: When Slimane's designs were flawlessly modeled by No Doubt star Gwen Stefani for Vogue's cover, shot be Annie Leibovitz. The edgy editorial, which really was the best ad for Saint Laurent ever, was the first of the creative director's many efforts to align his brand with the California music industry.
January 2013: When Slimane tapped a rising rock star for his first Saint Laurent lookbook. Although he could have selected a more established name for his big debut, Slimane took a chance on Sky Ferreira, a young LA-based singer-songwriter that was discovered on Myspace. (Beck, Marilyn Manson, and grunge queen Courtney Love also scored campaigns that year.)
Music was likely one of Slimane's biggest draws to LA, especially since it's the birth place of tons of rocker fashion darlings, including Haim, Banks, Phases, Allah-las, and Warpaint. This city is also just a few hours away from the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, where the sometimes-photographer has been known to scout for new muses.
March 2013: When Slimane singlehandedly revived grunge at Paris Fashion Week. Although his fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection disgruntled many esteemed fashion critics, including then-Style.com's Tim Blanks (he scoffed that "almost nothing looked new") and then-Los Angeles Times writer Booth Moore (she called it "a head-scratcher"), the creative director's unapologetic focus on "California Grunge" humanized the oft-intimidating Paris runway. The vintage-inspired collection also made the iconic fashion house's designs more appealing to a younger audience, and spawned a new wave of designers influenced by California.
October 2014: When Slimane opened Saint Laurent's biggest and best shop in the world. Helping revive legendary Rodeo Drive, the three-story, 10,000-square-foot space offers the rock-inspired brand's women's ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessories. While the third floor remains private, the ground and second stories are dedicated to the label's current collections and bestsellers, with archived pieces also housed up on the middle floor.
June 2015: When Slimane brought surf culture to Paris. Dubbed "Surf Sound" and aptly subtitled "A tribute to contemporary Californian surf music culture," the 70-plus-look mens spring 2016 collection was a mix of retro SoCal staples (and some very Kurt Cobain-inspired ensembles): printastic varsity jackets were worn over frayed flannels, and fringed suede jackets made appearances with beanies-and-sunnies combos.
February 2016: When Slimane hosted a starry Saint Laurent runway show at legendary concert venue The Palladium in Hollywood. Notable guests included Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Beck, Courtney Love, Ellen Degeneres, Demi Moore, Miranda Kerr, Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Mark Ronson, Sam Smith, Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Pamela Anderson, the Fanning sisters, and the Kravitz family. Clearly, Slimane wanted to go out with a bang. Farewell, Hedi.