In 2013, Saint Laurent had revenues from sales just under 560 million euros. In 2018 the turnover reached 1.7 billion euros. The performance of CEO Francesca Bellettini can be summarised through this trend. Bellettini’s courage tripled Saint Laurent turnover. Meanwhile, managing a stylistic change of guide. When she arrived, the creative director was Hedi Slimane, and then Anthony Vaccarello was in charge.
The manager told her story during Vogue Fashion Festival. “The number one enemy of creativity is fear – are her words to Fashion Network -. When we are afraid of failure, we stumble over every obstacle”. On the other hand, there was a lot of work to do, and it still is. “Upon my arrival I realised that Saint Laurent had many features that we could use to go even further – she continues -. We must know how to perceive what is part of our time, interpret it and retransmit it, while respecting at the same time the Saint Lauren’s values”.
The relationship with the heritage
Welcoming her was Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Saint Laurent. “Respect the heritage, but do not copy it – she remembers -. It is the first piece of advice he gave me”. Easy to say. But putting it into practice involves a great deal of cleverness. “We must learn to make the brand’s history our own, and then express it in an authentic way. Nobody wants to give the impression of being left behind – she concludes -. When you work for a brand with such a history, you incur into the risk of getting stuck in it, and staying too anchored to the past”. Bellettini’s courage, in short, has also been seen in the strength of looking at the brand’s past, without feeling a prisoner.
Photo from Imagoeconomica