The designer reinvigorated the brand, making it the cool, new uniform of celebs in the know

By Emily Kirkpatrick
Updated April 01, 2016 06:17 PM

Since Hedi Slimane took over Yves Saint Laurent in 2012, almost overnight he seemed to completely revolutionize and reinvigorate the brand. Not only did he change the name back to its original moniker Saint Laurent, but he moved the studios from their traditional home of Paris to his personal hometown of L.A., and was pretty much given carte blanche by the brand’s owners, luxury conglomerate Kering, causing rancor amongst his fellow, more restricted designers. But it wasn’t just in name alone that he took the fashion house in a new direction, much like Yves in his day, Slimane made Saint Laurent the new it-brand for young celebs and musicians looking to channel that difficult to pin down, insouciant rock ‘n’ roll vibe, quickly establishing a signature aesthetic that can really be summed up in three of his staple pieces.

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MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock; Katie Jones/WWD/REX Shutterstock; Terma/SL/FameFlyNet

The Jackets:

Slimane never met a print or a bomber he didn’t like. While every piece from his collections was highly coveted by fashion devotees and spotted on the back of almost every celeb in Hollywood, none more so than his statement bombers. Whether covered in glittery stars, a simple cheetah print, or palm trees, these pieces were some of his biggest hits and sure to be sought after long after Slimane’s departure.

The Suits:

77th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

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Slimane’s tuxedo suit is just as cool and groundbreaking today as it was when Yves Saint Laurent first came up with the design known as Le Smoking back in the 60s. Though Yves wasn’t the first designer to put a woman in a full suit, he was the first to give them pockets and provide women with a sort of freedom and edginess that was the exclusive purview of men for far too long. While Slimane’s modern update as worn by Emma Watson and Angelina Jolie at the 2015 BAFTAs perfectly encapsulates that same spirit of crisply tailored sophistication, that doesn’t mean he can’t also design a mean evening wear look for the gentlemen out there, as well, as proven by Drake at the 2013 Grammys.

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The Dresses:

Hedi Slimane Saint Laurent Jackets

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Finally, the real centerpiece of Slimane’s reign at Saint Laurent, his incomparable red carpet gowns. The designer’s creations ran the gamut from sexy, slinky evening dresses, such as the one worn by his eternal grunge muse Courtney Love, to more conceptual, minimalistic pieces, like the avant-garde look worn by Jane Fonda to this year’s Golden Globes that’s part clamshell, part modern sculpture. But Slimane also proved he could do classic glamour, like Dakota Johnson‘s unforgettable 2015 Oscar’s dress, just as well as more funky, retro-inspired pieces, like the technicolor feathered lamé dress Lady Gaga wore just last week to the Fashion Los Angeles Awards.

While his designs will be missed at the storied French fashion house, given the designer’s penchant to go in and out of the retirement on a whim, we have a feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll see Hedi Slimane on the runway.

What do you think of Drew’s new tattoo? Would you get your children’s names tattooed?

–Emily Kirkpatrick