Hedi Slimane: Sonic, a showcase of some of the creative director's photographs, is slated to open this fall in Paris. In case you're not up on Slimane (even though you probably should be), he is a bit of a Renaissance man. In addition to overseeing design at Saint Laurent and doing everything else that he does there (think: designing the runway show sets and the stores, art directing/shooting the campaigns and lookbooks, signing off on all of the indie music associated with the brand and the models, etc., and revamping the entire ready-to-wear collection), Slimane is a photographer. A quick review of his resume: In 1996, Pierre Bergé (YSL's business partner) hired Slimane, then 28, for the Yves Saint Laurent menswear design team. In 2000, he joined Dior Homme, where he "mesmerizing fashion audiences with his blade-slim, blackened silhouettes: exquisitely tailored suits and jackets and trousers that, with their louche glamour, evoked both rocker decadence and flaneur-like refinement," says Vogue, quite accurately. When stepped down from his position as artistic director at Dior Homme in 2007, Slimane, who objectively was of rock star status, moved to Los Angeles and turned to photography.
In some ways, Slimane's foray into photography has been hugely moving. His documentation of London youth, for instance, particularly in the early 2000's, the start of the new British punk-rock movement, was arguably the first of its kind. His exploration of youth codes and fusion of the art, fashion, and music scenes around the world is nothing if not captivating. Moreover, his support (by way of installations of photographic essays, exhibitions, publications, and more recently, ad campaign and runway show casting) for this indie and emerging music talent is not without gravity.
Slimane's work has been shown in a series of well-received gallery shows in Europe and at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as in a handful of books, including, “Anthology of a Decade: 2000-2010.” He work is striking, recognizable to even a novice fan. Intimate. Black and white, always, and fairly consistent in terms of subject: skinny young things, most of whom are musicians. While these make up the vast majority, there are, of course, those starring famed faces (and, in some cases, scantily clad bodies), anyone from Robert De Niro and Lindsay Lohan to Keith Richards and Pete Doherty to Kate Moss, Gisele and the late Amy Winehouse and Lou Reed.
The photos to be displayed at the Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Foundation from September 18, 2014 to January 11, 2015 span 15 years and are all from Slimane's archives. According to WWD, the showcase will feature Slimane's photos documenting London's music scene from 2003 to 2007, and California's scene from 2007 onwards. If you can't make it, you are not entirely out of luck, as Slimane has something of an online archive, which takes the form of Hedi Slimane Diary - a nearly boundless collection of photos taken by Hedi, which launched in 2006.
all images courtesy of hedi slimane