The gentleman before you is Hedi Slimane, occasional photographer and sculptor, and (as of this morning) official creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, a post once held by Tom Ford, Stefano Pilati and, just 12 years ago, Hedi himself.

It’s big news in the capital-F Fashion world, but it should make a difference for anyone with lapels—even if you’re not keeping an eye on runway shows. So we’ve put together a quick guide to why you should care…

So people are acting like this is important.
Yes. Slimane’s years at YSL and Dior Homme are the stuff of legend, so it’s roughly the equivalent of Jay-Z coming out of retirement (minus the awkward Chris Martin stuff).

What did he do that was such a big deal?
He championed a kind of slim-lapelled, mod suiting that ruled the world in the early aughts. If you’ve had a suit made in the past 10 years, he’s influenced the way it looks, whether you know it or not. Put it another way: whenever you see people like Pete Doherty and Mark Ronson big-upped as style icons, credit’s due to Hedi.

But what has he done since then?
After he left Dior, he started a photoblog and took topless photos of Lindsay Lohan.

That seems more important.
In many ways, it is. But a return to design was kind of inevitable. There are only a dozen people in the world who are qualified for any of these jobs, so it’s rare to leave the business completely. Hopefully, Lindsay will keep in touch.

Does that mean I should bust out my skinny ties again?
It does not. One of the interesting things about the news is that he’s coming in just as his original style is tailing off. We won’t see any of the new designs until June, but from the few quotes he’s given, it seems like Slimane’s aiming for a clean start.

Is there a reason he’s making the same face in every picture?
We said he was a Fashion guy, right?

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom