Fashion Icon: Hedi Slimane

Hedi Slimane (pronounced: Edi – Slie – man) was born July 5, 1968 in the 19th arrondisement of Paris to Italian and Tunisian parents. As a young boy, he quickly became fascinated with photography, something that would stay with him throughout his life. Around the age of 16, Hedi began making his own clothes, but wasn’t yet drawn into the world of fashion and design–it was simply a means to an end. He then began to study art history and took up a tailoring apprenticeship as a young man; but ultimately wished to be a journalist for Le Monde.

Flash forward to 1995: Slimane was appointed as director of menswear at Yves Saint Laurent where he eventually became artistic director. His 2000-2001 Black Tie collection was one of his most famous shows at YSL, which, in retrospect, was a precursor for the skinnier silhouette for men to come. Hedi then quit his job with the fashion house and started working as creative director of menswear at Christian Dior. Hedi fully incorporated tight pants and tight jackets into his new lines, inspiring Karl Lagerfeld to lose 90 lbs in order to fit into Slimane’s super-slim clothes. After a successful cologne launch, he became the first menswear designer to be named the CFDA International Designer of the year, which was presented by David Bowie, a fan of his work.

As his popularity and reputation flourished, Slimane began designing for the stars, from creating Brad Pitt’s wedding suit to making costumes for the likes of Daft Punk and Mick Jagger. Hedi also had many up-and-coming bands such as Phoenix, Beck, and Razorlight perform during runway shows.

Although his time at Dior left an imprint on the fashion world, he declined to renew his position with the company, for fear of external influences and limitations. In 2006, Hedi began his online photo diary where he blogged artistic pictures from daily life, all in black and white, especially portraits.

During his lull of intentional unemployment from 2007-2011, Slimane completely dedicated himself to his favorite past time, photography. He shot the who’s who of music and film, making the stark moody colorless prints a much sought after commodity. In March of 2011, after John Galliano was dismissed for his anti-Semitic comments, Slimane was made creative director with Dior and also Yves Saint Laurent.

Hedi Slimane is best known for sparking the trend in skinny menswear, and his talent for both fashion and photography. We compiled some of the best work of both worlds of the Hedi Slimane icon in the slideshow below.