Our Newsmaker this week is Hedi Slimane
, the Creative Director of iconic French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent
Best known for changing the silhouette of men's fashion to super-skinny during his time at Dior Homme, the French-born, Italian-Tunisian designer and photographer is now making waves as he helms Saint Laurent's couture resurgence
. The debut couture collection is a one-of-a-kind women's and menswear pieces that recapture the spirit of the Rive Gauche and only be available to close friends of the house.
Slimane spent the past three years restoring and redecorating the 17th-century Hotel de Senecterre that will house his ateliers. Built in 1685 by Thomas Gobert the building planner of Louis XIV the 2,100 sq m site with a "geometric garden" is spread across three floors, with the space split into three categories: Salon Couture, Atelier Flou (for dressmaking) and Atelier Tailleur (for tailoring).
With a degree in History of Art from the Ecole du Louvre, Slimane's started his career with fashion consultant Jean-Jacques Picart in 1992 with whom he worked with on an exhibition celebrating the centenary of Louis Vuitton's iconic monogram. From 1997 to 2000 he helmed the menswear division of the YSL before taking over at Dior Homme in 2001, that followed with his new vision for the Dior man by the launch of Dior Homme's first fragrance.
In early 2012, following the departures of Galliano and Stefano Pilati, respectively Slimane was officially appointed creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, changing the label's name in June 2012 to Saint Laurent Paris. Since his appointment he shook up the YSL brand, taking it back to its origins starting with his personal redesign of all the major Saint Laurent shops that captured the sensibility and aesthetic of distinct, cool and elegant layouts.
In the past few years, his work has been applauded as well as nagged by observers of the fashion world earning him the title of "the single most influential men's designer this century". His first collection designed for women in spring 2013 re-imagined the Saint Laurent woman harking back to late-sixties and early-seventies and carried a vintage allure. He also photographed and designed the cover of Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster, launched a "permanent collection" that served as a baseline for Saint Laurent's aesthetic. He was also the man who prompted Karl Lagerfeld to lose almost 90 lbs in weight in order that the Chanel designer could buy his clothes.
With a large fan following from the music industry (think musicians including Mick Jagger, Jack White, The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and The Kills), a highly regarded photography site, and a naturalness that emanates from his predilection for silky blacks and whites, Slimane has become one of the fashion industry's most sought-after designers.
For more on Hedi visit his profile
on FMD and check back next week to find out who our next Newsmaker is.