hedi slimane has always been on my list. an unavailable and reclusive introvert with no hidden agenda, he’s best known for revolutionizing the uneventful menswear world by introducing a young, skinny silhouette while designing for dior.
a week ago, his collection for saint laurent propelled him in the eye of a shit storm due partly to the faulty and forced process of re-branding and partly to the less than stellar creations.
it was his comeback to fashion after the 5-year break he took from designing after quitting his position at dior, but also his comeback to the house of saint laurent. in 1996, he had been brought by ysl co-founder pierre berge as the ready-to-wear director for the men’s collections and he later became their artistic director. in 2000, he left ysl, declined to become creative director for jil sander, accepted the position of creative director for menswear at dior and made history.
since leaving dior in 2007, hedi got busy with various artistic projects, all of them benefiting from his precise, explicit aesthetic, which seems to be based on a certain type of energy best embodied by young boys who are skinny, hairless, carefree, with the effortless grace of a young animal and a careless, innocent attitude.
i remember that, at the time, i could imagine little more subtly transgressive then having the people who could afford dior try to fit into those tiny clothes, made right on the backs of skinny skater kids (hedi believes more in trial and error and less in drawing). women wore his modern menswear and that’s why karl lost all that weight: to fit into hedi’s clothes…all of them trying to achieve that apex of cool, the subtly referenced sex in the silhouette, that unbuyable magnetism of relaxed youth.
hedi chases his little fauns everywhere in the world, regardless of the project. he is well known for street casting his dior shows: non-models, skaters, kids from clubs…whoever fit his profile was in. the dior homme clothes were not enough unless the right person was wearing them with the right energy.
a margiela intern in his youth, hedi understood that one should follow one’s heart and never compromise so he proceeded in making his fantasy world come to life, be it design or photography or art.
as far as hedi’s current bump in the road, i’m not worried: i care little about the clothes he does for the 1%. after all, back in the day, yves himself applauded frenetically after hedi’s first collection for ysl as well as after hedi’s first collection at dior. what else is there?
ps: dear hedi, if you ever find yourself in need of a casting director, let me know. you will not be disappointed as we seem to have a shared fascination for youth and for the exact same kind of kids. thank you and congratulations for your work!
photo and video credits: hedi slimane