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Saint Laurent boss focused on evolution of brand

Saint Laurent boss focused on evolution of brand

Yves Saint Laurent chief executive Francesca Bellettini is focused on maintaining the brand's momentum following the exit of designer and creative director Hedi Slimane.

Founded in 1961, the French label has been considered one of the world's most prominent fashion houses and is known for its modern and iconic pieces, such as its tuxedo jackets for women. Saint Laurent also markets a broad range of women's and men's ready-to-wear products, leather goods, shoes, and jewellery.

Slimane, 47, who revived the French fashion house's couture line last year (15) and imbued it with a successful mix of clarity and youthful spirit, departed the brand earlier month (Apr16), with it later confirmed that Anthony Vaccarello, 33, would be his replacement.

Going forward, Bellettini insists the permanent collection will continue to evolve.

"So this is why, from now on, with the brand clearer than before thanks to all the cleaning that has been done, the job Anthony will have to do is a stronger evolution with creative content," she told Business of Fashion. "What is very important is that every product speaks to the brand, to the DNA of the brand - it has to have that edge that is a combination of couture content and modernity."

Bellettini added that Vaccarello will be free to express his own creativity and the language of the brand in his own way, as long as he respects the brand's signature DNA.

Sales continue to grow and last Thursday (21Apr16) the brand once again reported double-digit revenue growth. In the first quarter of 2016, sales at YSL were up 26.5 per cent year on year on a constant exchange basis, hitting 269.3 million euros (£209 million) and making it the star performer in parent company Kering's portfolio. Looking to the future, Bellettini is planning expansion but is cautious not to try and do too much too soon.

"Going forward, our strategy is not to have 50 or 100 stores in China, but clearly over the next few years we could go from 15 stores to about 25 stores," she shared, adding there are plans to open a second flagship in Tokyo, Japan.

Saint Laurent currently has 143 stores, with boutiques ranging in location from Rome and Cannes to Dubai, Singapore and Beijing.

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