Few careers have been so closely monitored, or as widely discussed in recent years, as Hedi Slimane’s. The Frenchman shot to prominence following his creative directorship of Dior Homme, and his popularisation of a skinny silhouette in menswear. He currently helms the womenswear and menswear Saint Laurent labels, where his creative directorship has divided opinion, but his LA youth culture-driven collections have commanded the attention of the global fashion industry.
In 1996 Pierre Bergé installed Slimane in the position of ready-to-wear director of men's collections at Yves Saint Laurent. Slimane would later become artistic director of the line. After the ‘Black Tie’ collection for A/W 2000, which foreshadowed the advent of Slimane's skinny silhouette, Slimane chose to leave Yves Saint Laurent and declined an offer to take up the creative directorship at Jil Sander as well.
Immediately after leaving Yves Saint Laurent, Slimane moved to Berlin, where he took up a residency at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art between 2000 and 2002. Slimane's published his first book of photography, Berlin in 2002. The selection of black and white photographs were published by Editions 7L, Karl Lagerfeld’s publishing arm, which is an imprint of Steidl.
Slimane left the institute to accept the position of creative director of Dior Homme, where he received immediate success, changing the landscape of menswear with his adoption of a skinny silhouette. In April 2002, Slimane was the first menswear designer to receive the CFDA award for International Designer. David Bowie, whom Slimane dressed for his tours, presented the designer with the award.
Slimane left Dior to focus on photographic projects, before being appointed creative director of Yves Saint Laurent in 2012. By his request the ready-to-wear lines were rebranded as Saint Laurent, and the design studio was partially relocated to LA, a scene that has permeated Slimane’s designs for the house. Saint Laurent’s youth-culture driven collections, which are closely tied to the music scene, have proved to be extremely commercially successful.
In addition to designing Saint Laurent’s collections, the designer has recently collaborated with French musicians Daft Punk to create their tour wardrobe.