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YSL Names Kleinknecht Worldwide Press Director

Godfrey Deeny
March 20th, 2012 @ 4:11 PM - Tokyo

The house of Yves Saint Laurent has named Laurence Kleinknecht to be its new Worldwide Press Director, in an important revamp for the famed Paris fashion house.

“Yves Saint Laurent is pleased to announce the arrival of Laurence Kleinknecht as Worldwide Press Director,” the house announced late Monday, March 19.

The appointment of Kleinknecht marks the first significant move by YSL's recently installed Creative Director Hedi Slimane, for the new press chief has been a key associate of the designer for over a decade. She succeeds Siddhartha Shukla, whose departure from the company had been announced last year.

Kleinknecht was formerly Slimane's press officer during his tenure as men's fashion designer of Dior Homme, when he was the single most important talent in menswear during the first decade of the 21st century.

After Slimane quit Dior Homme when he could not agree on long-term strategic goals with that house, Kleinknecht loyally followed him out of the house, and was a notably active in handling his media relations when the designer embarked on a critically acclaimed second career as as fashion and fine art photographer.

Kleinknecht is viewed as an adept and sophisticated professional, who began her career back in the 90s with Michelle Montaigne, back then PR of Helmut Lang, when the Austrian was fashion's single most influential designer. Kleinknecht is also one of the best English speakers of any French person the entire Paris fashion press and media business.

YSL's announcement did not say when Kleinknecht would be joining. However, she was effectively in charge already. It was noticeable that when the house announced the arrival of Slimane, that March 8 communique listed Kleinknecht as the person to contact for any further enquiries.

Nor did it name to whom Kleinknecht would report to at YSL, though typically that would be the house's CEO, in this case Paul Deneve.

Slimane's appointment to YSL also marked his return to that house where he had previously been menswear designer until falling into loggerheads with then the brand's then creative director Tom Ford. Wherever he has worked, however, Slimane has been noted for his classily minimalist aesthetic. In keeping with that spirit, the release announcing Kleinknecht's arrival was the briefest such statement in living memory.

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