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In the three and a half years since Hedi Slimane took the creative reins at Saint Laurent, he did more than just change the brand name and make daytime tiaras acceptable. The designer also had a heavy influence on the label's retail operations, particularly in New York City.
The long-awaited Greene Street store that debuted in the summer of 2013 was the city's first taste of Slimane's flavor, where decadence practically dripped off the store's marble shelves and model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne plastered the store's high-definition screens in the brand's new campaign. 57th Street, on the other hand, only just dropped the Yves late last year, after a ten-month period to redesign and expand the uptown flagship into the brand's largest store in the world.
But now that Slimane has left Saint Laurent, what'll happen to these gorgeous spaces?
This is a problem that more and more high-end brands are facing as quick designer shuffles become the norm rather than the exception, since luxury fashion house parent companies like Kering and LVMH pour untold millions of dollars into revamped retail to drum up excitement around a new creative director appointment.
The Balenciaga store on Mercer Street is a similar local example — it took two and a half years for that store to go from conception to completion, and Alexander Wang's appointment in 2013 and subsequent influence on the space undoubtedly played a part in that delay. His exit from the fashion house was announced last summer, and the world has yet to see a shopping experience from Balenciaga's buzzy Demna Gvasalia.
Plenty of other major NYC stores have seen changes thanks to designer shuffling: DKNY's new Soho look under the Public School boys, Givenchy on Madison Avenue with Riccardo Tisci's influence, and Gucci's luxury look at Brookfield Place and Bergdorf Goodman are very recent examples.
The ink is still drying on Slimane's exit papers, so the thought of redoing New York's Saint Laurent stores yet again is probably far from the minds of Kering execs. And local shoppers will likely see big changes from other high-end labels first — Peter Copping could mold the Oscar de la Renta store on Madison Avenue to fit his vision, and it's almost certain that the city's uptown and downtown Dior stores will get a facelift whenever the house decides to name a replacement for Raf Simons.
Still, what'll happen in the coming months and years at 80 Greene Street and 3 East 57th Street is something to keep an eye on.