By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist
Last Wednesday The Impression published our review of Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium fragrance campaign and on Tuesday via YSL twitter account the house officially released a statement to assure the world was aware that Hedi Slimane had nothing to do with it. The release states that Hedi had “no creative direction …on the choices of artistic elements, or definition of image, related to the product lines or the advertising campaigns of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, including the ones of Black Opium.”
When a company publicly announces that the Creative Director had nothing to do with an element of the house, the house is officially divided.
The Impression saw this divide as soon as the ‘Yves’ was dropped from the ‘Saint Laurent’ and so separated the two in our search features. We recognized that Hedi Slimane’s reach didn’t touch L’Oréal Group’s fragrance and beauty division of Yves Saint Laurent. Sadly gone were the days when the house remained whole and the look of the creative was aligned. Those days weren’t too long ago in the scheme of things as they occurred under the dynamic partnership of Tom Ford and Dominico De Sole.
Fragrances for the most part are a licensed business complete with teams of packaging and ‘juice’ creators as well as army’s of marketers. Typically they operate separate from the design house meeting seasonally with creative directors to engage them in aligning the brand from the creative points of view: product lines, packaging, and ad campaign direction. Often the licensing contracts assure the design house has final approval over all creative elements thus the licensees involve the creative directors of the house, often begrudgingly, looking to appease them to assure they can go to market. The benefit is that the Creative Director has a broad window to the overall look of the house and adds value by bringing that knowledge to the table to help assure the consumer gets a unified vision of the brand. It is clear that this is not the case for Yves Saint Laurent. The Impression would like to officially go on the record: IT SHOULD BE.
We hope both parties reach across the aisle and unify the house quickly. Hedi Slimane is a visionary and immensely multi talented. He could bring a great deal to the table from a limited edition, never been done before press drivers, to photographing campaigns. One look at his last collection and you get that he has an understanding of mass as well. The L’Oréal Group is well, the L’Oréal Group, they know how to make and sell fragrance and keep the house of Laurent fed. Both sides of the house are strong, together they could usher in a new era for Saint Laurent. One we are hopeful to witness.