When you cause a dramatic shift an industry as stiff and stodgy as menswear, people tend to assign you nicknames like, “Greatest Designer of the Century.” But Hedi Slimane says introducing super skinny suits and rock-and-roll jeans at Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent Homme was inspired by guys hanging out on the street and the music they listened to, not from a desire to change the business. Slimane insists he was just trying to have fun, and now he’s having fun as a photographer, while he flirts with the idea of returning to design.
Slimane talked with Menswear via email and with The Guardian in person for what we can only imagine were stories planned to highlight his new photography book and his soon-to-end exhibits in Paris and Brussels, but which both ended up with him commenting on the current state of men’s design and whether or not he’ll return to the fashion industry. Slimane told the two papers that while he loves designing clothing, he doesn’t feel the same passion for it that moved him when he was with Dior and YSL at the turn of the century. “I miss the fabrics and I miss the atelier,” he told the Guardian. “But if I really miss it that much, I would have started again already.”
Herein, our favorite clips from both interviews, between which Slimane is fairly consistent save for a line about designing for a luxury house, quashing whatever lingering speculation there might have been that he would replace John Galliano at Dior.
On why Los Angeles is cooler than you think it is:
To Menswear: I am deeply attached to California in general. Los Angeles is also today the city I find the most relevant or interesting with regard to the Internet age, the entertainment industry—which fashion seems to have become a part of—and contemporary fields, art in particular, and indie music lately.
To The Guardian: “I love California,” Slimane says, who, after time in Paris and Berlin, now lives in the Hollywood hills. “It has such a strong contribution to the history of culture, and popular culture. For better and worse, of course. Even the worst can be interesting to some degree sometimes for somebody creative.”
On music’s influence on fashion, and Pete Doherty in particular:
To Menswear: The mid-Nineties, just after the grunge influence, was a golden age of electronic music. The moment that changed everything was 9/11. It had just as strong of an impact on creativity as it had on geopolitics … This is why my collections evolved—the birth of a new music: The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Libertines.
To The Guardian: His passion for Pete Doherty remains undiminished. “I think he had a huge influence on youth, globally. His way of doing things was really romantic.” He didn’t mind that Doherty was off his head all the time? “No, no, no. He was always adorable.”
On whether he’ll design again:
To Menswear: I only like luxury fashion. You have to decide where you stand. I like well-made, authentic clothes, well-crafted tailoring. I also like the dream and fantasy of luxury, the exception and rarity of it. I have no interest at all in fast retail. It is ambiguous.
To The Guardian: “I really love to design but when it’s a big luxury house there is so much things around the design. Like the global branding, like the window displays. Oh, it’s so much. You just have to be happy doing it. If you’re not, you’re really miserable.
UPDATE: We received a statement from Slimane’s spokesperson regarding his interview with The Guardian, which they feel was “misleading.” Specifically, Slimane spoke to The Guardian one day before John Galliano’s arrest, which is to say: his quotes about returning to fashion and/or a large design house were not specific to Dior.
The article of The Guardian is obviously, and certainly on purpose misleading. The interview was clearly done one day before the event in Paris, and not after. It is therefore unrelated, and sadly presomptuous [sic]. The Guardian wanted obviously to associate, juxtapose the two, after Dior’s events, postponing the article. Hedi Slimane obviously never talked about, or even implied Christian Dior, or any other luxury house in particular. Hedi was, before any event, only commenting on global branding, and he does always answer the same thing: “Global branding is key to design in luxury brands. You need to be prepared for it.”
Hedi Times [Menswear]
Hedi Slimane: ‘Maybe I have to start designing again’ [The Guardian]