Both Slimane and Simons are taking the reins at legendary fashion houses.
At Yves Saint Laurent, Slimane succeeds Stefano Pilati, a fashion rebel who designed a slew of lucrative must-have accessories but was unable to make ready-to-wear profitable. Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent’s business and romantic partner and founder of the Fondation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, has been infamously critical of past creative directors like Pilati and Tom Ford, but has been outspoken in support of Slimane. Saint Laurent revolutionized fashion–both as creative director at Dior and, subsequently, at his own label where he launched ready-to-wear in 1966. Slimane hopes to do the same.
At Dior, Simons succeeds John Galliano, who, well, you know the story; and, technically, Bill Gaytten, whose interim collections for Dior were met with good sales and lukewarm reviews. Dior is among the oldest and most iconic couture houses and has always been associated with a romantic, decorative aesthetic; while Simons has always been considered a fashion purist and minimalist. His inaugural couture collection for the house was a successful melding of the two aesthetics.