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Saint Laurent Paris – what’s in a name?

A few weeks ago it was announced that Yves Saint Laurent’s new creative director Hedi Slimane was changing the label’s ready to wear name to Saint Laurent Paris.

As well as the name, Slimane will resurrect the original fonts and labelling, although the YSL logo, as iconic as the interlocked double C of Chanel and the overlapped LV of Louis Vuitton, will stay the same.

This apparently random decision caused quite a controversy, instigating a barrage of angry tweets online – my personal favourite came from London vintage store Rokit: “It’s like when they changed Opal Fruits to Starburst – only 10 times worse.” But really, what’s all the fuss about? While SLP might not have the same ring to it as YSL, there is method in Slimane’s madness. This isn’t so much of a random rebranding, as some have claimed, but more of a repositioning.

In the 1960s, founder Mr Yves Saint Laurent moved away from high-end couture by launching a ready-to-wear line that was, in fact, called Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

For a newly installed designer, it doesn’t surprise me that Slimane is intent on making some changes.

But the decision to return the brand to something akin its original name, as it was under Saint Laurent’s rule, isn’t that shocking to me.

What is interesting is what this tells us about the clothes Slimane will send down the catwalk. Will he return to the Saint Laurent signature look of the 1960s? And if you believe the fashion whispers, this does leave Slimane open to bring back a couture line for the French fashion house, which would naturally take the name Yves Saint Laurent, as it originally did.

And really, does it matter what name is stitched onto the labels? What matters is the clothing he unveils come September – that’s all I’m bothered about anyway.

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