On Friday, fashion's most maddening rumor was put to rest when, after months of speculation, Saint Laurent announced that Hedi Slimane had stepped down from his role as creative director of the French house after just four years. While the news surprised very few, it did leave certain important questions unanswered — specifically, what will Slimane do next, and who will replace him?
In regards to the latter, industry gossip has long suggested that Anthony Vaccarello, the 33-year-old designer who's fronted an eponymous label since 2010 and was named creative director at Versus Versace in January 2015, is the frontrunner for the job. On Monday, Vanessa Friedman reported that Vaccarello has officially exited Versus — where he first signed on as a guest designer in 2013 — which further substantiates the claims that he's heading to Saint Laurent in the near future.
While Vaccarello only led Versus for a short while, retail revenue at Versace's younger, more digitally focused label has grown impressively, and the brand recently entered the U.S. market with its first brick-and-mortar flagship store in New York. The sexy, rocker-chic aesthetic that Versus is known for is certainly in line with the vibe that Slimane set during his time at Saint Laurent; Vaccarello's namesake label is favored by supermodels and fit, fearless celebrities, with sky-high hemlines, plunging necklines, heavy metal hardware and an ample use of leather among his signatures.
In a statement, Donatella Versace addressed Vaccarello's departure, saying: "While I'm sad to see him leave the Versace family, I wish [him] tremendous success with his next chapter." We're betting that the world will know what this "next chapter" entails in the days (or even hours) ahead.
Update, 12:12 p.m.: Kering confirmed in a release on Monday afternoon that it has appointed Anthony Vaccarello as creative director of Saint Laurent, effective immediately. The designer will present his first collection for the French fashion house in Oct. 2016 during Paris Fashion Week as part of the spring 2017 ready-to-wear season.
In the statement, Vaccarello said:
Mr Saint Laurent is a legendary figure for his creativity, style and audacity. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the history of this extraordinary house.
Francesca Bellettini, President and CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, added:
I am extremely happy to have Anthony Vaccarello take the creative helm of Yves Saint Laurent. His modern, pure aesthetic is the perfect fit for the maison. Anthony Vaccarello impeccably balances elements of provocative femininity and sharp masculinity in his silhouettes. He is the natural choice to express the essence of Yves Saint Laurent. I am enthusiastic about embarking on a new era with Anthony Vaccarello, and together bringing the maison further success.