With the news that Hedi Slimane is departing Saint Laurent still fresh in the minds of his disciples, perhaps the best way to cope with the shock that his four-year tenure has come to a close is to pull up one’s bobby socks and go shoe shopping.
After all, memorable footwear was one of the defining elements of the house under Slimane. Indeed, shoes were often reinterpretations of vintage finds or archival Saint Laurent the creative director’s team would scour the globe to find. Not stopping at just overseeing said shoes, the exacting Slimane also commanded a complete store design and merchandising overall.
His marble and mirrored vision gave those rows of Wyatt boots, Babies block heels and artfully distressed surfer sneakers pride of place at the very front of all 142 boutiques.
The strategy worked: Revenues at Saint Laurent grew 37.4 percent to 287 million euros, or $318.2 million in the fourth quarter, a 27.4 percent gain. In addition, Saint Laurent listed revenues of 974 million euros, or $1.08 billion for 2014.
While the Kering-owned brand doesn’t disclose exact breakdowns of sales, it’s likely the footwear and handbags accounted for a hearty percentage of sales.
Saint Laurent was also one of the first big luxury brands of late to test the gender-bender waters, with heeled boots intended for men (a favorite of many a musician, including, most famously, Harry Styles) by offering a large portion of styles in both men’s and women’s sizing. A 10cm version was even shown for fall ’15, for particularly daring types.
Slimane’s respect for original house codes could be seen in the very Rive Gauche ’70s Candy platform sandal, first introduced for spring ’15 and carried through to future collections.
Ditto the ’80s-style Cat bootie, a witchy low-heeled laceup that became a favorite amongst the street-style set, including Vogue Paris editor in chief Emanuelle Alt, when they debuted for spring ’14.
While these styles continue to be available in Saint Laurent collections, with Anthony Vaccarello just announced as replacement, who know for how much longer? Archivists, collectors and shoe fiends alike would be wise to act now.
Click through to see the top 10 Saint Laurent styles (for him and her) to scoop up.