It seems like Hedi Slimane is just feuding with fashion editors left and right. First, The New York Times‘ Cathy Horyn revealed the bad blood between them in her review of his debut collection for the newly-named Saint Laurent Paris. He responded with an outrageous open letter via Twitter, and now, another top editor is giving the designer a piece of her mind.
Laura Craik, the fashion editor at the British publication The Times, wrote her own open letter to Slimane, and in it echoes some of Horyn’s criticisms — though Craik, unlike Horyn, was invited to Slimane’s show this year. Here’s the full letter:
His first collection for Yves Saint Laurent was the most anticipated show of the Paris season, but Hedi Slimane didn’t make it easy for the critics to like. Or even see. So I thought I’d write him a letter to explain why…
Dear Mr Slimane,
We’ve never met, but I felt that, since we both like Daft Punk and skinny leather trousers, I should reach out to you, as they say in LA, and explain why your first collection for Yves Saint Laurent put a few backs up. It’s cool that you live there, by the way, even though you are Creative Director of an iconic French brand. I wouldn’t much like to live in Paris either. The internet is too slow.
I don’t know if it was intentional, but you didn’t make journalists feel very welcome at your show. Some, you didn’t invite at all. Others had to stand, or were given seats so bad they could only see the top half of the models, which made it tricky to report on the clothes. Nobody minded sitting behind Azzedine Alaïa, but that all those glum-looking indie kids in black drainpipes got to see the clothes from the front row seemed a little insulting. I respect that you value your friends so highly, but I don’t respect some of the people on the YSL payroll who were unnecessarily rude. Friends who have met you swear you are a lovely, laid-back bloke, so this seems weird.
It was really cool to get Daft Punk to edit the music for your show. And it was really cool to have Kate Moss sit on your front row. She also sat front row when Stefano Pilati and Tom Ford were creative directors of YSL, but that’s OK: sometimes Alexa Chung just doesn’t cut it, even though she also dates hot, skinny musicians. Kate Moss is a legend and an icon: 22 years after Corinne Day first shot her, women still want to be her, a fact which wasn’t lost on Sir Philip Green and is clearly not lost on you, either. Those cigarette pants you did were made for her, and so were the tunic dresses.
What you did with menswear at Dior Homme was nothing short of genius, even though I never saw a collection as I don’t cover menswear, so I feel a bit faux writing that, but I do honestly mean it. I did used to cover music, though, when I worked at The Face in another life, so I know what it’s like secretly to wish you were a musician. Music always has been and always will be cooler than fashion. Oh, if you could only render the whumping opening chords of Da Funk in stretch-leather. Still, at least you can dress the people who make the magic happen. And their girlfriends.
Another thing: those e-mails. I received the one about how I should refer to the house of Yves Saint Laurent, and have noted that the house is referred to as Yves Saint Laurent, collection credits should read Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, and Saint Laurent Paris is used in the logo but not when spoken or written about the collection. Despite these stipulations, though, and despite having sat through your show, I still don’t feel clear about your intentions for the brand. That you don’t want to give even a quote in this regard is your prerogative, just as it is mine to venture my opinion. But in the black wake of your silence, conjecture will surely breed.
Because the thing is, you can’t control everything. You just can’t. You can control your brand’s image to the nth degree, and so you should: it worked for Burberry. But you can’t control people’s reactions. And I really hope you don’t want to try. If you were a suit, I wouldn’t expect you to understand that. But you’re not. You’re Hedi Slimane. All the things you seem to love and value — music, fun, sexiness — require freedom. You have yours. I have mine. Without it, we are nothing. So please, don’t ban me from your next show, because I really want to see it. We all do. We like you, even though you treat us like a bitch.
We have two questions. First: will Slimane respond? And second: how long until Lady Gaga throws her hat into the mix?