Born July 5th 1968 making him 47, Hedi Slimane is the current creative director of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.
His mother Italian and his father Tunisian, Hedo Slimane was born and raised in the 19th arrondissement (19th district) of Paris. As a child Slimane never had the intentions of becoming a fashion designer nor did he expect himself to one day become the creative director of one of the biggest fashion labels in the world. As a child Slimane used to love photography and the cameras that were being created. At the mere age of 11, Hedi Slimane received a camera and soon learned black and white darkroom printing, a big feat for an 11 year old.
Although he never wanted to be a fashion designer let alone a creative director, the idea of fashion started to grow on him as he advanced into his teenage years. At 16 Slimane was designing his own clothes although he did not want to advance into the fashion industry, he did not even have fashion on his mind he was just designing his own clothes.
Studying Art History at École du Louvre in Paris, Hedi Slimane went on to take part in an apprenticeship at a men’s designer house. Before he wished to pursue fashion on a professional level, Slimane would often visit the offices of Le Monde due to the fact he wanted to become a reporter and a journalist.
From 1992 to 1995, Slimane assisted fashion mogul Jean-Jacques Picart on the centenary of the project “monogram canvas: of Louis Vuitton. In celebration of the monogram canvas and its history, the fashion house invited seven of the world’s greatest designers; Helmut Lang, Vivienne Westwood, Romeo Gigli, Azzedine Alaia, Sybilla, Manolo Blahnik and Isaac Mizrahi. These designers were invited to do a retake on the classic Louis Vuitton monogram.
A year after Slimane assisted Jean-Jacques Picart, Hedi Slimane was chosen as the director of men’s ready-to-wear collections at one of the greatest fashion houses, Yves Saint Laurent. Later on, he would become the artistic director.
Slimane’s role at Yves Saint Laurent did not last long. After 5 years, Slimane decided to leave the label and declined an offer from Jil Sander in the process. He did however accept the role as creative director for menswear at perhaps the world’s most renowned fashion house, Christian Dior. After joining in 2001, it was in 2002 that Slimane was awarded the CFDA award for International Designer.
Another 5 years on, Slimane did not renew his contract at Dior Homme. Dior did not engage in dialogue regarding funding for Slimane’s own label and for that reason, the half Tunisian designer returned to fashion and photography.
Yet again, 5 years on, Slimane no longer worked for Dior. In March 2012, French fashion label Yves Saint Laurent stated Hedi Slimane would take over as creative director at the label. Instead of working in the Parisian headquarters, Slimane still chooses to work in his studio in Los Angeles. The designer has also been praised by Kanye West, the 38 year old rapper said he would “love to have him on board”. Slimane also generated a lot of his fame by documenting things like the Berlin club scene in the 90’s as well as documenting Pete Doherty. He is also renowned for helping the creative director of Fendi and Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld lose 90 lbs in weight in order for him to buy the clothes he wanted. Like all other major designers who have had a considerable impact on the fashion industry, Slimane possesses a unique style on both women’s and menswear.