Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cause Me Pain, Hedi Slimane

Chris Wetmore by Hedi Slimane

Hedi Slimane (pronounced Hedi Slim-aahn) is an amazing designer and photographer. He was born in Paris in 1968 to an Italian mother and Tunisian father who was a lightweight boxer. His mother was a seamstress and as a child, he would fall asleep on swathes of fabric as he watched her work. He went on to study Art History (same as me).
"Fashion = music + youth + sex.
This is what my menswear and my style were always about."

"When he was six, his sister's best friend used to entertain him with her impressions of David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Slimane got hold of Bowie's 1974 album David Live. The cover features the androgynous, skin-and-bones singer in an angular, narrow, cropped suit. Next he bought Angie by the Rolling Stones and a Vegas-period Elvis single, both with similarly dramatic covers. Stagewear became synonymous with menswear. "It was the only connection I knew with men's representation, even masculinity. David Bowie, for me, was the butchest guy in town. Jagger was like a truck driver." Thirty-odd years later Slimane designed stagewear for both.” The Guardian.
He worked an as assistant to Jean-Jacques Picard and in 1997 he was handpicked by Pierre Bergé to be Artistic Director of the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche men's line.

Throughout the late 90's and the noughties, Hedi created a new zeitgeist for mens' fashion. Skinny was in. Hedi's insouciant, super-skinny suits with a rock & roll edge fast became a firm favourite with the glitterati including David Bowie, Jude Law (seen here in Dior ad directed by Guy Ritchie), Jamie Hince, David Beckham, Slash, Kings of Leon, Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt, who wore a Slimane designed suit to his wedding to Jennifer Aniston.

Beckham in Dior Homme

Karl Lagerfeld is rarely out of Slimane designs - the inspiration for his dramatic weight loss was to fit into Hedi’s skinny designs. "I never suffered from being overweight. At the time, oversized Japanese fashion was all the rage. Call me a fashion victim, but when the pendulum swung back to skinny-fits I simply shrunk to follow the trend. I lost 200 pounds to wear suits by Hedi Slimane."

The androgynous cut of the suits made fans also of women such as Nicole Kidman, Linda Evangelista, Sharon Stone, Carine Roitfeld, Courtney Love, Sarah Jessica Parker, Helena Christensen, and Madonna. In 2000, he was appointed Creative Director for Dior Homme.

Dior Homme

Hedi with Helena Christensen

Nicole Kidman in Dior Homme
Victoria Beckham copies Slimane-style in Gucci suit & Dior Homme tie

During his time at Dior Couture the company reported an increase in profits in 2002, despite a poor world economy. In September 2001, he was awarded the Man of the Year Award for emerging talent by the American GQ.

Agyness Deyn in Henry Holland slogan Tee

Dior Homme 2005-2006

"Slimane is said to have transformed the male silhouette. He produced jackets that were cut short, with narrow, square shoulders, and teamed them with very skinny trousers – exquisitely made, super-tight tailoring that was designed with rock stars in mind, but was greeted with so many standing ovations on the catwalk he is proud to have documented the British music scene at an exciting time. ..And 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 His design work is best for the moment because is the most right for the moment" The Guardian

Pete Doherty

Hedi has said his designs come from his head, when he listens to a song and will design a whole collection around it. “I think about the characters, the allure, the walk, the proportion, the hair – it just makes sense from one song." Slimane's rock & roll style was shaped by musicians such as Patti Smith, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie & Ziggy Stardust and later Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Pulp, Franz Ferdinand, Razorlight, The Drums, Phoenix, Kings Of Leon and Pete Doherty. "There is no fashion without music. Marie Antoinette knew better when she fetched Gluck to Versailles, to try her new wardrobe on the dance floor. Nothing will ever change. Fashion = music + youth + sex. This is what my menswear and my style were always about."

Franz Ferdinand

In an interview earlier this year in Womens’ Wear Daily, Hedi slammed designers for cheapening their clothes by rolling them out onto red carpets. “The unfortunate outcome (of blogging and social networking) might be the obsession and collusion between the celebrity culture and high fashion. It is just a big global mess of random endorsement. Nothing looks worse than a dress or a suit on a red carpet. It is an ongoing tragedy of cheap fashion on cheap celebrities, followed by ubercheap comments.” Hedi has now turned to photography and has an amazing eye, as the photos below attest. His photography is monochromatic, smouldering, sexy, androgynous and edgy - like his designs. "I like well-made, authentic clothes, well-crafted tailoring" he said. "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." Here are a few of my of favourite images by Hedi Slimane.

Anna Selezneva

Anna Jagodzinska

Natalia VodianovaGiselle

Dark Angel Jamie Bohcert


Lady Gaga
The Olsens
Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince
Kate Moss
Amber Valetta
Vanessa Paradis
Lara Stone
Courtney Love
Model Caleb
Freja Beha Erichsen
Amy Winehouse
Georgia May Jagger

Anja Rubik for V Magazine

Heidi Mount
Jamie Bochert

For more Hedi, see HERE for Fashion and HERE for rock.

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