From New Stores to Lower Prices, Here's Everything You Need to Know About the New YSL

“We’re preparing to revolutionize fashion again, as Mr. Saint Laurent did in the Sixties.” --YSL president and chief executive officer Paul Deneve.
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“We’re preparing to revolutionize fashion again, as Mr. Saint Laurent did in the Sixties.” --YSL president and chief executive officer Paul Deneve.
Photo: Patricia Schwoerer

Photo: Patricia Schwoerer

Anticipation is building for Hedi Slimane's Paris Fashion Week debut, set for October 1. Even Lady Gaga is excited.

But since we still have little to go on in terms of clothing, Slimane's branding has been the main topic of conversation. Rock n' roll inspired campaign images have been rolling out slowly, and now that YSL is about to open a new store--the design of which has been overseen by Slimane--we have a lot to talk about!

WWD has all the details on "the first unit in the world to reflect a new floor-to-ceiling store concept developed by Slimane, who is applying a 360-degree makeover to the mythic fashion house," and with them more details on the company's plans for what is clearly a complete brand overhaul. Here's everything we learned from the trade's exclusive interview with YSL president and chief executive officer Paul Deneve:

• With Slimane, he has high ambitions for the brand, like catapulting it to the scale of Chanel and Dior. “We’re preparing to revolutionize fashion again, as Mr. Saint Laurent did in the Sixties.”

• They plan to open 15 stores and shop-in-shops per year, all "under the Saint Laurent Paris banner." “Very rapidly, we will see the overall store network evolve.”

• Following Shanghai will be stores in Berlin and then Paris. What the deal is with that Mercer street store, we do not know, but it's around the corner from our office so we'll keep our eye on it.

• Inspiration for the store design included the French Art Deco and Union des Artistes Modernes (French Union of Modern Artists) movements.

• The stores will look like mirrored, marble-y mazes, if WWD's photos of the Shanghai unit are anything to go by. Key materials include "black and white marble, raw concrete and Thirties-esque display furniture with gold, silver, mirror and glass."

• By January 2013, all aspects of the new brand identity--including the clothes--will be complete and in stores.

• Slimane might return the brand to couture at some point. “It could be a natural step, but no timetable has been defined,” Deneve said.

• As for YSL's successful must-have accessories, the Cabas Chyc bag and Tribute shoes will carry over, but have been "upgraded and reworked."

• The new ready to wear, which presently accounts for the smallest percentage of YSL's sales, will feature a wider price range in hopes of attracting “new, younger clients.”

• Reorganization and upgrades behind the scenes in areas like production, product development and merchandising, have been implemented as well.

• Deneve describes the whole process as "intense." "Hedi has set very high standards," he said, "and expects people to meet them. He has such a clear vision, from Day One, about where he wants to go."

Meanwhile, Slimane has not abandoned his photography career. In addition to shooting an ad campaign for his own brand, he shot Sky Ferreira's latest EP cover and some photos of Grimes recently appeared on his blog. Perhaps we'll be seeing them in some SLP pretty soon?