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It’s rare that Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane ever opens up to the press, but the designer has now broken his silence in a rare interview with Yahoo Style.
In the talk (via email) with former Style.com editor-in-chief Dirk Standen, the L.A.-based creative talked at length about renaming the label to “Saint Laurent,” being bullied as a kid and finding solace in his favorite rock stars (or as he calls them, “my music heroes”).
Here, a few things we learned about the 47-year-old during in his interview.
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Slimane dropped the “Yves” in “Saint Laurent” to fully embrace the fashion house’s history.
“Almost 50 years after, the necessity was for me to transpose this idea, Yves’ freedom, this age of innocence,” he said of the late Yves Saint Laurent‘s desire to dress the flower generation with what was then called “Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.” Slimane continued: “The return to the original name would also help me to recreate a legitimate and lost balance between the fashion and leather accessories, besides keeping women’s and men’s fashion side by side.”
Slimane has mad love for Pierre Berge, the late Saint Laurent’s longtime lover and business partner.
“I owe him and Yves everything. This is why I tried my best the last four years to protect and consolidate the foundations of their house, no matter what it meant for me, or my life,” Slimane said, adding, “There is absolutely no one like him, and there will never be anyone else as far as I am concerned.”
Slimane wasn’t surprised by the critics’ negative reviews of his first Saint Laurent collection.
The designer told Standen that he understood the reactions, but he was also aware that his work was “surrounded by heavy politics and conflicts of interests. […] The tone was set no matter what I would design for the first season.”
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Slimane can’t picture living anywhere else other than L.A.
He describes the City of Angels, where he’s lived for almost eight years now, as the “perfect observatory of popular culture and inspiring sub-cultures.” As for how it benefits his work, he stated that the distance “gives you the possibility to focus entirely outside distractions, and therefore to develop your creativity.”
Slimane’s daily routine in L.A. doesn’t seem to give him much time to take a break.
When he’s not reviewing emails from Paris, he’s dealing with “store design, visual merchandising, advertising, press matters in the morning. I have fittings almost everyday, from mid-morning till evening.” In the evenings, he’ll attend concerts or work on music-related projects. “There is no time off really; it is an ongoing creative process,” he explained.
Slimane was bullied as a kid.
As a kid who grew up skinny, he said that both the people in high school and his family “were attempting to make me feel I was half a man because I was lean, and not an athletic build.” Therefore, he said, they would bully him “so that I might feel uncomfortable with myself, insinuating skinny was ‘queer.'”
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Music comforted him.
“I would turn to my music heroes, and this was comforting,” Slimane said, mentioning David Bowie, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Mick Jones and Paul Weller as those he admired. “They looked the same and I wanted to do everything to be like them, and not hide myself in baggy clothes to avoid negative comments.”
Read more from the interview with Slimane at Yahoo Style.
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