Saint Laurent began 2016 by settling a lawsuit against the makers of a parody sweatshirt that read “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves.” The slogan referenced the controversial decision to drop founder Yves Saint Laurent’s first name from the label’s official moniker, one part of a divisive rebranding designer Hedi Slimane put in place when he came on board four years ago. In April, Saint Laurent announced Slimane was leaving the label, setting off a series of events that would ensure his departure was just as contentious as his arrival. After he quit and Saint Laurent did not enforce his non-compete agreement, Slimane successfully sued them for $13 million to make them enforce it. The move effectively granted him money to not work, an admittedly genius lifehack and Joanne-level scam. In October, after his successor Anthony Vaccarello brought back the classic Yves Saint Laurent logo in his debut collection, Slimane went on a Twitter rant explaining that he was actually down with the original YSL branding all along, capped off in gotcha!, Johnnie Cochran-esque style with a Twitpic featuring logo-shaped confetti from one of his runway shows as evidence. It was peak fashion world dramz, with little to no real world ramifications, making it simultaneously ridiculous and compelling.
Still, despite all of the backstage infighting, Slimane’s Saint Laurent continued its winning streak. The label threw an insane, celeb-packed show in Los Angeles, gathering everyone from Lady Gaga to Sylvester Stallone. They also released spring’s must-have piece this year, a tropical souvenir jacket worn by Justin Bieber, Kourtney Kardashian, Olivia Wilde, The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, Marc Jacobs, and model Alessandra Ambrosio. It sold out completely. While it’s doubtful that Saint Laurent wants Vaccarello to mimic Slimane’s antics, it sure would be nice to replicate some of that heat next year (preferably without any Twitpics). —Steve Dool