In April of 2008, Slimane left for US, joined his friend Gus Van Sant, and started a new project, "Young American", which was partly shown at the FOAM Museum in July of 2007. He had two other shows: at Arndt and Partners Gallery in Berlin -- titled "Sweet Bird of Youth" (a group show, with contributions from emerging artists in the New York art scene), and a solo show at Ellipse Foundation for contemporary art. He also collaborated on the exhibition "Perfect Stranger", at Gallery Almine Rech, in Paris, February 2008, another show at Koyanagi Gallery in Tokyo, and one at the Musac Contemporary Art Museum in Spain in May of 2008.
In March 2011, following John Galliano's dismissal from Dior, Slimane was linked with the job of new Dior creative director.
In March 2012, Yves Saint Laurent and its parent company, PPR, officially stated that Slimane would replace Stefano Pilati as creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, after the departure of the latter, who held said position for almost eight years.
He is based in his creative studio in Los Angeles, rather than the brand's Parisian headquarters.
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In July 2007, Slimane did not renew his contract at Dior Homme. The fashion house proposed to fund Slimane's own label, but the discussions failed and the designer declined. Slimane had written on his website that he did not want to lose control of his name, and management of his own brand. He returned to fashion and portrait photography.