Is Dropping the ‘Yves’ from Yves Saint Laurent a Branding Fail?

Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

When Hedi Slimane took over for Stefano Pilati as the fashion house’s new creative director in March 2012, many were wondering what Slimane had in store for the luxury label.

We’re sure very few, including ourselves, were expecting this: the luxury French fashion house confirmed to WWD that it would be changing it’s name from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint-Laurent Paris.

‘YSL’ vs ‘SLP.’


Kind of reminds us of ‘SJP’ (aka Sarah Jessica Parker) or the word ‘slop’ or ‘slap,’ potentially even ‘slip.’

Not very luxurious or pinkly provocative, if you ask us.

In fact, it reminds us of GAP thinking that a Microsoft-esque logo was the way to go in changing times.

After all, Dolce and Gabanna is dropping their ‘D&G’ line in order to preserve the luxury of ‘Dolce and Gabanna’-proper.

Often when I consult with clients about their public relations and branding, I ask them one key question: If your brand were a person, how would they be?

It’s like Christian Louboutin fighting for his red sole or Gucci out for blood to protect their double GGs.

Actually, it’s pretty much like Yves Saint Laurent’s banned Sophie Dahl (shot by Steven Meisel, art directed by Tom Ford, circa 2000) ‘Opium’ advertisement: over a decade later, it still has people talking.

“All creations from the Couture House, starting with the Spring-Summer 2013 collections by Hedi Slimane, will carry the name Saint Laurent,” said the fashion house.

The way a brand’s image speaks to its primary, secondary and even tertiary audiences is its lifeline.

It’s what inherently takes someone to their point-of-purchase.

A brand’s image is what creates aspirational fans and keeps loyalists in the circle of consumption.

Therein, lays the luxury of the ‘YSL’ aura.

There is something romantic, cascading, certainly sexy and feminine about the way the ‘YSL’ logo falls.

So while the fashion house is ailing, we can’t quite picture a ‘SLP’ having remotely the same effect as ‘YSL.’

In this case, ‘SLP’ feels like the ‘D&G’ of the family as opposed to the ‘Dolce and Gabanna.’

A certain luster disappears.

With that, I’d be curious to know what YSL co-founder Pierre Bergé would say.

One would imagine that the man, who worked endlessly over the years to keep Yves Saint Laurent’s memory vibrantly alive with in-depth and expansive archives as well as a foundation no less, would approve of such a move.


Sasha H. Muradali owns the Little Pink Blog (part of Little Pink Book PR, LLC.) Sasha holds a MA International Administration with a concentration in Intercultural Communication from the University of Miami and a BS Public Relations and Dance from the University of Florida. She has been featured in Forbes, CNN and Business Week. Sasha tweets fervidly (@SashaHalima), loves Harry Potter and the colour pink. Find her on LinkedIn, get a copy of the Little Pink Blog delivered to your Kindle and ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook.

Little Pink Blog & Little Pink Book PR are federally registered trademarks of Little Pink Book PR, LLC. © 2009-2012 Little Pink Blog & Little Pink Book PR. All Rights Reserved.