60 posts tagged "Hedi Slimane"
Despite their hefty price tags, which range anywhere from $2,490 to $68,000, Saint Laurent dresses are in seriously high demand. According to Bloomberg, Hedi Slimane’s frocks have been selling so well that they’ve compensated for Gucci’s declining handbag sales and helped to raise parent company Kering’s profits by a whopping 4 percent. Looks like there are more moneyed scenesters out there than we had originally thought.
Rock stars embody a sense of freedom and glamour that fashion will forever be chasing after. No designer has championed the rocker look more than Hedi Slimane, who successfully revitalized Saint Laurent by mining youth-culture codes for creative inspiration. A true fanboy, Slimane regularly casts lanky musicians to walk his runway shows and also fills his front rows with a tribe of real-life musicians, including Alex Turner, Miles Kane, and The Kills’ Alison Mosshart. But SL isn’t the only brand getting with the band lately. For his Diesel Black Gold Resort collection, Andreas Melbostad studded and stenciled tough leather vests and biker jackets that read “Race to the Grave.” Haider Ackermann took his signature decadent aesthetic in an edgier direction for Spring ’15 with black vinyl pants and silk sashes worthy of Keith Richards. And Undercover’s Jun Takahashi paid tribute to New York’s proto-punk scene by featuring the cover art from Television’s Marquee Moon album in his latest menswear lineup. Off the catwalk, models of the moment are striking a similar note with electric, eclectic ensembles. During the Paris menswear shows, Grace Hartzel’s bohemian frock and silver amulets channeled a Ladies of the Canyon vibe, while Waleska Gorczevski paired a grungy Nirvana T-shirt with black shredded jeans—proof that the rock-star trend is as much about attitude as it is about the clothes.
Christopher Owens Talks Shooting Photos With Hedi Slimane, Going Country, and Modeling to Fund His Art-------
Two years ago, indie-rock figurehead Christopher Owens and his friend Hedi Slimane found themselves in the same position, tasked with starting new chapters in their careers: Owens had just announced the dissolution of his band Girls and Slimane was newly in charge at Saint Laurent, so they turned to each other for help. Slimane recruited Owens for his first campaign at the storied fashion house; that project doubled as Owens’ coming-out party as a solo artist. It was a mutually beneficial move that allowed Slimane to establish the rock-and-roll vibe he’s since maintained and gave Owens greater visibility as an artist and model. (Owens has since starred in an ad for Isabel Marant’s capsule collection for H&M, and has lent his looks to other photographers, including Logan White who snapped the shot above.)
A year later, Owens has settled into his solo career and reinvented himself again—this time with spurs and Stetson hats. His next solo album, fittingly titled A New Testament, has more of a country lean than anything he’s done before and, with it, comes Owens drawing from his days spent working on a ranch in Amarillo, Texas—cowboy attire, to boot. While preparing for the announcement of A New Testament—out September 30—the San Francisco-based artist took a moment to talk about his friendship with Slimane, his new country look, and his reaction to how musicians are turning more to fashion to fund their art.
Had you been thinking of exploring country music in a more overt way for a while?
On the first Girls album, Album, there’s a song called “Darling” that I feel is a little country. On Broken Dreams Club, we tried to do things that were pretty country—we even had a pedal steel player. It was something I hoped to do in a more focused way. Then when I actually put my shoulder to the boulder on this one, I found all of these great elements coming out from people I had asked to work with me and I didn’t try to suppress those things. At the end of the day, I thought, We’re not coloring in the lines of the country aesthetic, but it would be a shame not to use it.
It seems like you’ve committed to that aesthetic all around. In promo photos, you wear country gear.
There is a bit of a story behind that. I lived in Amarillo for nine years before moving to San Francisco. I worked on a ranch, and the hats I’m wearing in the photos come from that period. One was a parting gift I got when I left the ranch. On various Girls tours, I’ve stopped in Amarillo and bought a new pair of boots—not thinking, One day I’ll use this for an album aesthetic. It’s just fun to get to do all of this stuff, image-wise. Modern country people are doing everything from dubstep to rapping; I think there’s room for me in there.
Has your wardrobe expanded a lot since you’ve taken on these modeling jobs with Hedi Slimane and Isabel Marant for H&M?
In the H&M shoot, I only wore one T-shirt and jeans, so I didn’t get any kind of wardrobe expansion, but Hedi was nice enough to send me a few things that I really liked.
Interestingly, when I signed up for H&M I was a little bit scared—it was very different from Saint Laurent. As much as it was whirlwind, when it came time to do the editorial photos for Saint Laurent, I had already shot on a personal level at my house, walking around Golden Gate Park, and Hedi’s house in L.A. as a friend—photos that weren’t to be used for anything, just photos for photos’ sake. We had become friends, so when he said, “Do you want to do this?” it was easier to say yes. Jeez, Yves Saint Laurent was a pillar of fashion, and I kind of fancy myself as a young David Bowie dipping my toe in the fashion pool.
The H&M thing was something where I thought, Maybe it’s not really me. I don’t know anyone there. At the same time, the music industry is changing. People don’t survive on record sales anymore. I had done a boutique-y album with my first solo album and said, “I’m only going to play small rooms with good sounds. I’m not going to play any festivals because they throw you up on stage five minutes before your set with no sound check.” Coachella was going to pay me for a short set whether it was good or not, and I said no to that. So the H&M thing seemed like the right thing to do at the right time. They were happy to pay me for my time. I lost money touring because I took a nine-piece band on a theater tour, and this was a way for me to recoup with my label and have money to do this album.
Sky Ferreira, another musician who has modeled for Hedi, has also talked about how modeling can be a good way to fund art.
I think it’s a very genuine issue right now for artists to find other ways to make money. People stream your music on Spotify and you get zilch back, and you’re expected to make videos and do a lot of things that cost money. I think it’s important to have some moral template that you keep in mind. I wouldn’t want to say, “Just hand over the rights of a song to a company to do whatever with.” I’m happy to take a photo. I like doing that. I think we will see more of this.
On the flip side, have you thought about why brands are more interested in using musicians instead of models?
You could be right about that, but, for me, I don’t really see that. I remember when Pete Doherty was Hedi Slimane’s muse. Back in the day, Mick Jagger and Bowie and Liza Minnelli were in fashion. I think it’s something that left during the post-punk alternative craze of everybody having to make a point and say “I’m not a sellout,” but I think that’s going away again. People are saying, “I like to work with other people on other things that’s not my work,” whether that’s being in a movie or being in fashion. I want to have budgets to make exciting records. I want to do things even bigger than I’ve been able to do.
Before the Saint Laurent ads, you weren’t in the mainstream public consciousness. How did you deal with being the face of a massive campaign?
[Hedi] followed it up very quickly with photos of Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love, and Beck, so the focus was taken off me very quickly. I feel like my photos that happened in the beginning were a bit anonymous. People were like, “Who is this Macaulay Culkin type with bad teeth in the new ads?” And it didn’t really matter who it was. The comments I saw were more on the aesthetic rather than directed toward me.
I really enjoyed that whole experience and I would do it again. Hedi was behind the camera. It wasn’t like I came in and shook his hand and he handed me off to some crew. It was very relaxed. The model was very professional and helped me to understand what to do in a photo shoot. I like to think of Hedi as a friend. He’s a very personable guy. No airs of greatness. He just likes to do his work, and he seems to work a lot, which I respect.
The timing was really interesting because both of you were kind of in the same place in different industries.
Yeah. It was while I was on the ranch that Hedi called me to ask about doing the campaign. I was on a little trip that was designed to get away from things—after I made the announcement that I was leaving my band—and I went to see my family and went back to Amarillo and stayed on Stanley Marsh’s ranch. The timing is bizarre, but isn’t that the way it goes? Sometimes things just line up right.
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.