For over twenty years Hedi Slimane has rocked the fashion world, bringing his obsession with music culture and pop icons into a new wave of designs that crossed gender lines, redefined the waste and placed shoulder pads back on top.
His love for androgyny led to an influx of men’s-style and the era of the skinny suit and tie was born. Slimane is a true artisan uncompromising to his vision, which has been at the heart of his tumultuous ride, the extreme highs and lows of his career. From re branding the house of Yves Saint Laurent to his next chapter at Celine, Slimane continues to push buttons and boundaries in pursuit of the great design.
Hedi Slimane had been designing at Yves Saint Laurent for three years before the house of Gucci acquired it. He had arrived almost by accident; his work as a Louis Vuitton assistant had drawn the attention of Saint Laurent CEO Pierre Berge, who tapped him as the man to turn around the moribund fortunes of their menswear line. Slimane had just begun to find his signature style when Gucci, led by their hallowed creative director Tom Ford, stormed the offices of YSL.
Ford had been raised to deity status by reversing the fortunes of the flagging Italian label; now he looked to do the same for the French at Yves Saint Laurent. Ford insisted that all Saint Laurent designers report directly to him, creating a new and unfamiliar hierarchy that Slimane could not abide. After a single disastrous meeting with Ford, Slimane walked out on YSL and the golden ticket he had stumbled across three years prior. It seemed insane to many, and rightfully so. Who was Slimane? A three year “veteran” of design to question the messianic and unparalleled wisdom of Tom Ford? In time we know the answer.
Hedi Slimane is a creature entirely unto himself; a force majeure of fashion whose fascination with rock and roll iconography permanently shifted menswear and with it, the cultural perception of what an ideal man could be. Like the rock gods of old he so idolised – who could come to idolise him in return – capitulation is simply not a part of his build. It is, and has always been, Hedi’s way; or the highway.
To the casual outsider the Fashion Industry can appear to be a cauldron of creativity with endless innovation and risk taking, as every new season designers have to forget their past successes and milestones and return alone to a blank canvas, to create their next collection, and this cycle repeats itself every 6 months. Granted there are principles, codes, legends and motifs that inform a designer’s agency, but essentially it’s starting over. But to those in the know, the fashion industry is a also a giant sales machine, grinding out mega-dollars as ruthlessly as Goldman and Sachs.
According to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index, the global fashion industry is now worth an estimated US$3 trillion per annum. In fact, not only does it touch just about everyone, but it would be the world’s seventh-largest economy if ranked alongside individual countries’ GDP. Even if you hold only the most casual interest in the world of fashion, it’s hard to deny the fascinating life stories of every person we have chosen to showcase in this Series: the Renegades of Fashion.
Director – Paul G Roberts
Screenplay Adaptation- Paul G Roberts, Jess Bregenhoj
Producer – Paul G Roberts
Assistant Producer – Emily Smith Original Story – Charlie O’Brien, Renegades of Fashion, Publisher Fashion Industry Broadcast
Narrator – Annalisa Astarita
Director of Photography – Stefan Varvaross-Abdi
Camera Operators – Jake Bugeja, Rami Slayman
Sound Recordist – Desteny Russo
Editor – Rami Slayman
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