Is YSL’s Hedi Slimane Heading to Gucci?

Gucci Spring Summer 2010 Ad campaign. Shot by Mert And Marcus
Gucci Spring Summer 2010 Ad campaign. Shot by Mert And Marcus

The dismissal news of the long-reigning couples in Gucci, Frida Giannini and Patrizio di Marco, was quite unexpected. The duo has been working closely with the brand for more than 12 years but after sales consecutively declined, François-Henri Pinault  the owner of Kering – parent company of Gucci, decided that he had enough. And now, the fashion musical chair has begun again.

According to Page Six, Pinault, has been considering a few names including Hedi Slimane from YSL, Riccardo Tisci from Givenchy, and Joseph Altuzzara.

The top choice so far has been Hedi Slimane who has successfully re-branded YSL as Saint Laurent and reinvigorated the sales slump, despite constant criticism on his collections and his treatments towards journalists.

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Other names on Kering’s short list include Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci — known for his close friendships with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. But sources say that he’s locked into his contract at Givenchy for years, and would be difficult to poach.

Another designer being considered is American Joseph Altuzarra, after Kering took a stake in his namesake company last year. Speculation had been building that Pinault’s firm could be grooming him for a bigger position.

Source

The problem that Gucci is facing is similar to the one that Louis Vuitton has. They are the victims of their own marketing. While more sales is always appreciated, more sales also means more exposure.  Mainstream means cheapening the status of a luxury brand. The ubiquitous big logos are making money, these brands are churning out designs that rely heavily on brand names without heavily investing on other form of identities, like product innovations or designs. When the trends and taste have moved on from this heavy logo look, they are scrambling to find a ground to stand on.