10 Months After Hedi Slimane's Departure, Yves Saint Laurent Is Still Kering's Big Money-Maker

The Anthony Vaccarello-led house posted 25.5 percent comparable growth this year.
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The Anthony Vaccarello-led house posted 25.5 percent comparable growth this year.
Photo: @ysl/Instagram

Photo: @ysl/Instagram

Since hiring Hedi Slimane, (Yves) Saint Laurent has been the cash cow — the prime rib, one could say — amongst Kering's portfolio. In February 2015, the luxury conglomerate announced that YSL (then called Saint Laurent) had doubled its business since hiring Slimane just three years prior. That upward trajectory continued into this year, when Slimane departed in April and was promptly replaced by Versus Versace's Anthony Vaccarello: Comparable sales grew 24.2 percent in the first half of 2016, clocking in at €548 million in revenue (about $607 million). 

Try as YSL might to begin anew with Vaccarello in charge — which the house initiated by wiping its Instagram history — it's Slimane's brand vision that's still killing it at the cash register; after all, Vaccarello's design debut didn't even hit the runway until September. As always, Kering has the digits to prove it: YSL posted 25.5 percent comparable growth this year, as reported in Kering's full-year results for 2016, released on Friday morning. These figures have become par for the course for the legacy brand, which, for starters, saw its comparable revenue rising by 33.9 percent (!) in Kering's third quarter.

Meanwhile, Kering's prize pony, Gucci, continues to outperform under the creative wizardry of Alessandro Michele. Michele's aesthetic finally began to resonate with shoppers this fall — Gucci's comparable sales saw a 17.8 percent lift in the third quarter — and its full-year results reflected that with 12.7 percent growth. And following its collaborations with market-favored celebrities like Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and Cara DelevingnePuma also saw a considerable bump in 2016 with a 10.4 percent comparable increase. 

There's no word yet on Bottega Veneta's full-year digits, which means they probably won't look as shiny: the brand has struggled to connect with consumers as of late, and sales were down 10.9 percent in the third quarter.

In all, 2016 was a champagne-toast-worthy year for Kering, who are still riding that Slimane-induced tidal wave. It'll be interesting to see how YSL performs once Vaccarello's designs hit the market in full by the end of the year — but for now, Slimane has left Kering in a warm, cozy, cash-flushed spot. 

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