A few months ago, we reported that Hedi Slimane would take over as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, relieving long-time designer Stefano Pilati. Slimane is most known for his work at Dior Homme, where he established his signature sharp, skinny suits and jeans. As the French designer joins YSL, the questions remains whether he'll bring the same aesthetics to the fashion house.
While we wait for Slimane's first official collection at the brand, Mr Porter has taken the time to give some information on the designer's background in the industry and his influence on menswear.
In 1996 when Mr Pierre BergĂ© appointed Mr Slimane to take charge of YSL menswear it was axiomatic that he would take on the Italians and the French in a battle over who would create the modern man: wafer-thin lads who looked as if they had not eaten for weeks wearing skinny, ill-fitting jackets - ill-fitting until you realised that just like the Japanese before him in their revolution, Mr Slimane had created a new proportion never seen before on a menswear runway (reminiscent of Messrs Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and 1920s Vaudeville performers); a shape engineered with the perfection and skill of an Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking of years before, but with every element undermined and recast for the 1990s. And, paradoxically, these clothes that looked so poor and reminded many of the hand-me-down indignity of wearing clothes the wrong size, were precisely what young men of fashion were looking for to empower them in a totally new way. An essentially northern European way. Guys who had never been terribly sure about how well the high-glamour suits and expensively thick cashmere seen on the other runways actually fitted into their lives were absolutely sure of what Mr Slimane was offering. And they wanted it. And the life that went with it. And so did the world's most elegant women, for who Mr Slimane made the perfect modern suit shape.