It's a widely-accepted fact that Hedi Slimane is a legend in menswear. While it may be argued whether it was he who created the black skinny suit, critical rival Cathy Horyn says no, it can't be denied that Slimane popularized the style. In fact, he catapulted the style to such heights that the oft-dismissive designer and icon, Karl Lagerfeld, famously lost over 80 pounds in order to fit his wears. However, it seems like a more recent part of Slimane's legacy may be in danger.

As Slimane re-explores a career in photography, while not completely ruling out a return to fashion, the fashion cycle trudges on. The men’s shows, currently on view in Europe, have cycled through London, Florence and Milan, having opened in Paris this past Wednesday. Though today—a day in which Saint Laurent would traditionally be closing the month of shows at Carreau Du Temple—the brand's slot remains curiously empty. And it has been since Slimane abruptly and quite publicly left the brand in 2016.

Hedi’s work at Saint Laurent was a boon for stores, not only for retailers who stocked the line and the brand itself, but as an overall high point in the earnings reports from parent company Kering. During his tenure, the designer doubled revenues at the brand, seeing a strong following in men’s and women’s for everything from apparel to footwear and accessories.

"Our customer base that buys Saint Laurent has changed after rebranding, especially for men's," Maiko Shibata, the creative director of Japanese concept retailer Restir, told The Business of Fashion in 2015. "There is a devoted clientele who loves Hedi's creation. It has been totally refreshed and we have much younger customers." It seems as if those very same customers are about to be abandoned.

Since Anthony Vaccarello, formerly of Versus Versace, took the helm at YSL, there has been little talk about the men's line. Appointed back in April, the Belgian designer skipped the men's show that would have traditionally taken place the following July. In its place, Vaccarello sent one lone men's look down the runway during his women's debut in October. Featuring a sheer, billowing button down and black, saggy pants, it was a far cry from the skinny rocker looks that dominated Slimane's aesthetic. So, where are the rest of the clothes?

In December, Vaccarello opened the first Saint Laurent store under his purview. Housed in Miami's Design District, it was easy to pop into between Art Basel viewings and certainly of interest considering how many Basel participants were wearing the easily identifiable, Slimane era Saint Laurent boots. Inside the store, all the way the back, hang a few meager racks of men's clothing; mostly basic pieces from the brand’s permanent collection. The footwear wall looked similarly dull, a few key highlights missing from the boot selection. When asked, two store associates confirmed that the offering was the future of the brand.

"Those were a part of Hedi's collection," one associate said of the missing styles. "We were told they would not be carried over." That's not only disappointing to buyers, but quite harrowing for retailers in general.

Back in 2014, Matches Fashion buyer Damien Paul told The Independent that the brand was not only selling out of outerwear, but that they had racked up a waiting list for the brand's runway boots, and with good reason. Slimane provided pieces that were not only accessible in price and wearability, but distinctly different than what was already on the market. The same can not be said for the Chelsea boot the brand just released under Vacarrello.

To be clear, Vaccarello hasn't made any claims or statements about what he will or will not bring to Saint Laurent men's collection. But even during his stint at Versus Versace, menswear took a backseat to women’s, though, admittedly, this was the first time he had ever designed men's pieces. Point being, it may take a hell of a lot more than throwing Travis Scott in an Instagram video to keep him from fucking up the most recent chapter of Hedi Slimane's enduring legacy.

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Tags: opinion, saint-laurent-paris, hedi-slimane