Hedi Slimane was born in Paris in the heat of the tumultuous 1968 student riots. It seems that the energy and attitude of the Parisian youth that summer have become permanent fixtures in Slimane’s lexicon. Slimane’s work has consistently demonstrated an acute awareness for not only what young people are wearing, but how they are wearing it and how it serves as a symbol of their identities. He doesn’t consider himself an artist, but merely a translator - taking what’s already present in the streets and elevating it with the vocabulary of the French luxury brands he has designed for.
Following an internship at Maison Martin Margiela, Slimane took over as creative director at Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Homme in 1997 after meeting with its then-chief Pierre Berge for just a single hour. His collections, disrupted the men’s fashion scene in Paris with their severe tailoring and emphasis on extremely luxurious fabrics like thickly woven cashmere and buttery lambskin. It was one of the first times men’s fashion had received the attention and elegance traditionally reserved for the women’s runways.
In 2001 Slimane began his tenure at Dior Homme, where he revitalized the brand and established many of his career trademark motifs, such as the bee logo. It was during this time that Slimane produced some of his most storied and legendary collections, such as A/W 2003 “Luster.” The A/W 2004 season “Victim of the Crime” saw a shift in Slimane’s aesthetic to a more grounded, analog direction rooted in rock and roll, which would become the look that is now synonymous with Hedi’s name. After leaving Dior Homme in 2007, Slimane focused on his photography career before returning to fashion and rebranding the maison Saint Laurent.
This period saw Slimane investigating rock and roll’s wildest but chicest moments, and often featured collaborations with both artists and musicians. His focus on upholding the Saint Laurent legacy was met by such decisions as sourcing fabrics from the original mills Saint Laurent himself would use, and referencing the brand’s archives for archetypes of its design language. [Authored by @DominikHalas]