MUSIC THROUGH THE LENS
As is the norm in the world of fashion, multitalented creatives tend to produce more than just striking garments. Following big-name designers Helmut Lang, Karl Lagerfeld, and Martin Margiela, Hedi Slimane proves he’s more than a one-trick show pony. Alongside his resume as collections and art director at Yves Saint Laurent, designer of furniture and fragrance, filmmaker, curator, artist, store designer, and so on, Slimane balances his plate as renowned fashion designer with a side of photography. Perhaps even vice versa.
Initially known for his terribly influential slim silhouetted ensembles for Dior Homme, Slimane has proved that this interest is more than just a phase. Since a tender age of eleven with a Nikon FM gifted to him by his parents, Slimane has been passionately shooting the world as he sees it. In 2004, the aesthete released the book of photography, Stage, capturing the emerging rock scene in London, his most beloved city. Documenting a music movement he cites as only occurring every fifteen years, Slimane was one of the first to shoot emerging names such as, The Strokes, the White Stripes, and the Klaxons, at their start. With its raw honesty and focus on the musician’s flirtation with their creative space, Stage quickly became the harbinger of a new fashion and music revolution, solidifying their influence on one another once and for all. The year 2005 brought London Birth of a Cult, detailing the life of the spontaneously new London scene featuring Babyshambles’ Pete Doherty, The Others, the Paddingtons, and the Horrors, who after their launch by Slimane, were thrust at the forefront of the current British post-punk revival. Others who have benefitted from his lens include inspirational unknowns from his home in LA, celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, and musicians like The Kills’ Allison Mosshart. Adding to his impressive list of devotees, bands the Eight Legs and These New Puritans got their start from him, while rock family Jethro Cave’s (Nick Cave’s son) and Isaac Ferry’s (son of Bryan Ferry) modeling careers blossomed with his exposure. Lady Gaga herself requested the photographer, whom she calls a mentor, to shoot the cover and art for her album, The Fame Monster, persuading the label to allow Slimane’s darker, edgier photo—a controversial notion for popular pop careers.
Slimane’s passion for the artform has produced a wide collection of simple and sleek shots, much like his own menswear designs. With a touch of rock and roll and the feeling of freedom of the open road, Slimane expertly mixes cutting edge youth culture before a European metropolis backdrop as well as in a comfortable classic Californian setting.
Last March in Paris and Brussels, Slimane reemerged curating California Dreaming: Myths and Legends of Los Angeles, paying tribute to his current inspiration featuring LA favorites, Ed Rush, Mike Kelley, and Sterling Ruby alongside photos of several famous friends, Courtney Love and John Lydon. Additionally, the Brussel’s show featured a sound installation by close filmmaker friend and frequent collaborator, Gus vant Sant, as well as sculptures by Oscar Tuazon. If that wasn’t enough for the busy photographer, Slimane recently finished a photo series for French Vogue just prior to his March 1st launch of Anthology of a Decade, his 800-page outlook on the happenings of the early 2000s.
Though he is starting movements with his digital lens, Hedi Slimane is still very much missed by his many fashion admirers. With talk of eventually designing womenswear as well as possibly stepping in as Creative Director for Dior, after John Galliano’s recent dismissal, we all wonder when he will return to his place as a fashion great. Though of a Tunisian-French background, Slimane tells Style.com like a Californian: he’ll return “when the time is right, what’s the rush?”
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