57 posts tagged "Hedi Slimane"
With his idolatry of all things rock ‘n’ roll, Hedi Slimane has lensed the likes of Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love, and Kim Gordon for the Saint Laurent Music Project. But for the latest addition to Slimane’s moody, ongoing photo portfolio, he’s tapped Marianne Faithfull, singer, actress, and Mick Jagger’s former better half. At 67 years old, Faithfull is still plenty chic and doe-eyed, with her signature blunt fringe. We can only speculate as to what other Stones paramour Hedi might draft next: Bianca, Jerry, or Anita?
This week Christopher Bailey officially assumed his joint position as both chief creative and chief executive officer of Burberry. The move has been hailed as revolutionary in some quarters. It’s rare for someone from the design side of things to be given so much responsibility for business decisions. But in fact this turn of events speaks more to evolution than revolution. It’s a reflection of the way that the role of the creative director has changed in the last decade. The notion of the designer as an artistic genius who spins brilliant collections from his own turbulent emotions and who flourishes best with a fierce protector at his side (Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé being the obvious paradigm) exists only in the memory. Or on the screen—two new YSL biopics are being released this year.
Today, fashion is big business on such a global scale that creative directors are expected to have as much of a grasp of the bottom line as of a hemline. Bailey, a talented designer who also happens to be levelheaded and exceptionally well-organized, is more in the mold of a Ralph Lauren, less focused on inventing a new silhouette than in keeping a brand both consistent and constantly refreshed. It’s not that monumental a leap for him to take control of the balance sheets. In other words, there are no more ivory towers. Hedi Slimane, to my mind an artist, is also incredibly disciplined and clear-eyed about the strategic direction of Saint Laurent as a whole. Nicolas Ghesquière’s debut at Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, seemed to suggest he has an eye on reality as well as experimentation. One of the reasons the young New York designers who emerged in the last five years have stolen a march on their contemporaries in Europe is that they have a well-defined sense of where they fit in the commercial space. But even in London, once the bastion of wayward visionaries and even more wayward bank balances, the talk is of how fledgling labels are setting themselves up to succeed as real businesses. When Natalie Massenet took over as chairman of the British Fashion Council, one of her first acts, I’ve been told, was to limit the champagne intake at the London Showrooms event in Paris. At this seasonal showcase, which allows a group of emerging British designers to present their wares to visiting press and buyers, it used to be that the bubbly would start pouring at 10 a.m. and by noon the process of writing down orders had become somewhat hazy. These days they wait till 5 p.m. to pop the cork.
That represents progress of a sort, I suppose. And yet, as the Met gets ready to commemorate Charles James, a designer who had little interest in commercial obligations but made a couple of indelible contributions to fashion history, it’s hard not to be a little nostalgic for the mad, bad creators of yore. After all, can you really come up with the next big idea if you have one eye on how it will play from Dallas to Dubai? Much of the commentary around Bailey’s appointment has centered on whether he has the chops to handle the business complexities, but going forward, his bigger challenge may be deciding when to pursue a design impulse just because it feels right rather than appears to make immediate sense for shareholders. How he negotiates that balance will ultimately dictate the success or failure of his intriguing new role.
If the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show didn’t solidify Saint Laurent’s place as the official fashion house of the music biz, we don’t know what will. Creative director Hedi Slimane has long dressed (and been pals with) mega pop and rock stars. If you’ll remember, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Beck, and Sky Ferreira have all starred in campaigns for the brand. The Kills’ Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart are Saint Laurent front-row fixtures come fashion week, and Slimane has crafted custom onstage outfits for the likes of Daft Punk and Keith Richards. The label’s latest stint in the spotlight came yesterday evening, when Bruno Mars and his band wore custom metallic Saint Laurent jackets, skinny ties, and black trousers during their performance. Looks like the Grammy Award-winning pop prince has officially been inducted into the SL club of cool.
From the streets of New York to the Paris ateliers, fashion is in a California state of mind. For proof, look at all the references to West Coast skate, surf, rave, grunge, and lowrider subcultures on the Spring ’14 runways. Hedi Slimane, who was fetishizing Los Angeles and its underground scenes long before he landed at Saint Laurent, is at least partly responsible for this mass migration, but Kate and Laura Mulleavy deserve credit, too. After taking us “back home to Santa Cruz” last season, the Rodarte sisters’ L.A.-inspired lineup was full of chola-girl plaid shirts styled with snapbacks, satin bras, studded suspenders, and fringed skirts. Tommy Hilfiger, meanwhile, transformed Pier 94 into an epic beachscape with a boardwalk runway that complemented his sun-kissed, sporty clothes; Humberto Leon and Carol Lim channeled SoCal street racing at Opening Ceremony; and Jeremy Laing described his Spring collection as “Malibu Beach Barbie goes to a rave.”
Though perhaps an enfant no more, Jean Paul Gaultier’s long-standing reputation as one of fashion’s enfants terribles hardly jives with the concept of a traditional museum retrospective. In fact, Gaultier himself finds it hard to imagine his designs in such a setting. “I am from the generation where, when I saw an exhibition of someone’s work, they were dead!” he told us. “I think I am still alive, and I never in my dreams thought that a museum could be interested in the work I’m doing.”
However, judging by the buzz around The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, both museums and the masses are keen on a comprehensive showcase of the designer’s work. And, having bowed in 2011 at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, this traveling exhibition is, of course, anything but ordinary. Set to make its East Coast debut at the Brooklyn Museum this Friday, the Thierry-Maxime Loriot-curated show offers a look at Gaultier’s career through the lens of his fixations, from punk rock to corsetry to his many muses. Animated faces (including the visage of Gaultier himself, which is paired with his signature Breton shirt) are projected on many of the show’s mannequins. Elsewhere, S&M-inspired gear is shown in stacked booths reminiscent of a red light district. Ahead of the New York opening, Style.com caught up with the master himself to talk reality television, haute couture, and his career as an accidental provocateur.
When you were initially approached about having an exhibition, did you ever feel any reluctance?
At the beginning, yes. I refused. For me, it was truly for dead people. But after meeting the team at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, I thought, “Ah! Maybe we can do something that is not dead.” It’s nice because it’s a new adventure and it’s not one fixed, chronological exhibition. I did not want it by color or year. I prefer to group the clothes by the things that I’m obsessed with, or the things that are important to me, with different periods mixed together.
Your Spring ’14 runway show took inspiration from both Dancing With the Stars and Grease. Has your relationship with pop culture changed over the years?
I have always been impressed by rock culture, rock shows, people like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and the New York Dolls—all that influenced me. I look a lot at TV, even trashy programs, reality TV sometimes, and love the contests like Dancing With the Stars. I think I am a little American that way! It’s super interesting, psychologically, and I love performance. Continue Reading “Jean Paul Gaultier: “My Purpose Is Not To Shock”” »