YVES SAINT LAURENT REBRANDING

The YSL monogram instantly reminds of the great Yves Saint Laurent. However, in June 2012, when Hedi Slimane took over the helm of the luxury brand, he discontinued the classical tradition of the brand – changing the house name into Saint Laurent Paris.

By Balthazar Malevolent

YVES SAINT LAURENT REBRANDING

The YSL monogram instantly reminds of the great Yves Saint Laurent. The designer, the brand, and the French chicness of his clothes have been associated with the famous slanting logo that has represented the house since 1961. But in June 2012, when new creative director Hedi Slimane took over the helm of the luxury brand, he discontinued the classical tradition of the brand – changing the house name into Saint Laurent Paris. It was a controversial move that received both praise and criticism, but now, Wallpaper Magazine has deemed it the best rebranding in the past years.

Yves Saint Laurent and a model in front of his first Parisian boutique.

Many saw the removal of ‘Yves’ from Yves Saint Laurent as a sign of disrespect towards the deceased designer, but others thought that renaming the house Saint Laurent Paris can be seen as a bow to him and the roots of his line. Saint Laurent, the designer, began as an haute couturier, but basically invented ready-to-wear with his revolutionary 1966 runway show in Paris under the name Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. The change in name refers to this time, as does the change of font to Helvetica, which harkens back to that formative era for the brand. Slimane told Wallpaper*, ‘It made sense today to transpose these principles and recover the original name and typeface. It seems intrinsic to the universe of Yves Saint Laurent.’ This form of retro-branding allowed Slimane to pay respect to the designer while also signaling his arrival and differentiating himself from his predecessors, Stefano Pilati and Tom Ford, the two other creative directors who have lead the house since Saint Laurent stepped down. While the renowned, visually rich and embellished YSL interlocking monogram will remain in touch, it will coexist with the new, minimalistic Saint Laurent Paris packaging. As the whole Saint Laurent appearance adapted to recent rebranding, the new minimalistic approach can be seen in the new offices, advertising, fashion show invitations, etc.

A handful of brands, including Balenciaga with Demna Gvasalia, Burberry under Riccardo Tisci and Celine with the appointment of Hedi Slimane, have recently gone through a logo update. The last company to make a change to its logo was Alexander Wang in 2018. The label's logo has been the same since its launch in 2005 and then, 12 years later, the company got a makeover.

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