Saint Laurent sans Yves

It’s understandable for a new creative director to want to make a few changes at his new label–wouldn’t that kinda be why he was hired in the first place? But we just heard a rumor about a major change new YSL creative director Hedi Slimane is considering–and it’s pretty drastic.

A reliable source tells us there may be talks within the company of having the “Yves” taken out of Yves Saint Laurent. We hear the issue was brought up by Slimane in the interest of giving the brand more of a fresh, modern feel as he begins his tenure there. Thus, our source said, the iconic YSL logo shall be no more. (Though we suspect, if this really ends up happening, YSL SL will come up with something better than the above.)

Of course, this is nothing more than a rumor, but could you imagine? Calling the brand Saint Laurent won’t be too much of a stretch, as people already call it that, but will we really call it SL (for SLimane?) for short? What about all the stores and beauty products and that iconic logo? Won’t changing everything be incredibly expensive and confusing? Would the value of vintage or pre-Slimane YSL then go up?

We also wonder if YSL co-founder Pierre Bergé, who has worked tirelessly to keep Yves Saint Laurent’s memory alive with expansive archives and a foundation, would approve of such a huge change.

If true, this is a surprising statement for Slimane to make, given his past at YSL (he designed menswear from 1998-2000) and the fact that Bergé, who has been quite critical of previous creative directors, seemed pleased to have him on board and called him “a member of the YSL family.”

Then again, perhaps the company had already been considering it. It’s not at all uncommon for storied fashion houses to go by their founding designer’s last name: Chanel, Versace, and Armani are just a few examples. We can also understand Slimane wanting to distance himself from the label’s inimitable founder, whose legacy, as some of Slimane’s predecessors have expressed, can be difficult to live up to.

We’ve reached out to YSL (if that’s what it’s even called) for comment and will report back when we hear more.

What do you think? Could Yves Saint Laurent just be Saint Laurent?

Update: This is really happening!! An Yves Saint Laurent spokesperson has confirmed to WWDthat Slimane plans to change the name of the house to Saint Laurent Paris. And that’s not all.

Slimane’s inspiration for the house’s branding makeover reportedly comes from 1966, when the company first introduced its ready-to-wear line under the name Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. He plans to use similar fonts and wording from that time. However, the Yves, along with the iconic YSL logo, won’t disappear entirely. The full Yves Saint Laurent name will continue to be used for “institutional purposes” and the logo will remain the same. So, basically the only change will be to the read-to-wear line, which will now be called Saint Laurent Paris. Phew!

The changes are being positioned by YSL as “restoring the house to its truth, purity and essence – and taking it into a new era” while “respecting the original principles and ideals,” according to the trade. The new branding is expected to be introduced by the time Slimane’s spring 2013 collections hit stores

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