Saint Laurent is full of surprises

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 9:47am

After another show last month, Hedi Slimane's super-skinny Saint Laurent look developed further, with the being increasingly won over by his interpretation of the French fashion house. Then, following Slimane's revamp concept for major flagships such as Paris' Avenue Montaigne and New York's Greene Street stores, the redesign of Hong Kong's Alexandra House flagship was unveiled.

Concrete panels, mirrored shelving, quilted leather seats and vast slabs of white- and black-veined marble - the austere monochrome interiors with huge cinematic screens playing thematic videos. It's a big change indeed. Slimane's vision is, inch by inch, becoming more complete.

I have to say, having visited the new Paris and Shanghai stores, the interiors are quite beautiful. Two limited-edition versions of its fast-selling signature handbag, the Sac De Jour, were also launched exclusively for the Hong Kong revamp - in charcoal grey and a stunning blood-red crocodile. I already see them selling out fast.

It seems the label just hasn't been able to stay out of the fashion headlines since chief executive Paul Deneve arrived two years ago and controversially replaced Stefano Pilati with Slimane. Despite the ensuing drama, the luxury label's sales have soared, especially in countries such as Japan. Last week, as press were preparing to pick Deneve's brain at the Hong Kong store unveiling, it was announced that he would be stepping down.

Deneve's reputation was that of an innovative and approachable figure. As it turns out, he is moving to tech giant Apple to head up special projects - in one of the biggest power moves this year. Francesca Bellettini, executive director of Bottega Veneta, owned by the same Kering group as Saint Laurent, is poised to take over. No doubt all eyes are again on the brand. Slimane even gets an expanded role (he already takes care of all creative, design and imaging elements). People will be watching what changes Bellettini might bring. As Hong Kong fans will see in the store this week, if there is one thing Saint Laurent isn't short of it's the element of surprise.