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Saint Laurent's Hedi Slimane is no shrinking violet when it comes to professing his LA devotion—that is, if anyone can actually sit down with the infamously press-shy designer. The LA-based creative director recently graced W mag's Dirk Standen with his (virtual) presence in a lengthy email interview for Yahoo Style. (Fashionista points out that editor-in-chief Joe Zee and Slimane are longtime pals, if that explains more.)
The rare Q&A spans over 50 questions, with Slimane offering insight on everything from YSL's couture relaunch, why he dropped "Yves" from the brand's name, how LA makes him work harder, and more. Read on below for seven key takeaways from the interview.
Slimane was following YSL's own vision when he dropped "Yves": "Historically, Yves decided with [co-founder] Pierre [Bergé] in 1966 to name his revolutionary ready-to-wear 'Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.' Yves wanted a clear dichotomy with his couture...The retro-branding for [RTW] meant in reality protecting and preserving the name 'Yves Saint Laurent' for Couture."
The designer first wanted his name on bylines, not labels: "I was always interested in journalism. I grew up with the intention to become a reporter. Needless to say, and despite my attempts in political sciences prep school, it never worked out."
He's here to stay in LA: "I trust I cannot live anywhere else at this point. However, I am extremely attached to Paris, this is where I was raised and born. From California, I look at Paris with nostalgia, I feel probably more French here than in France."
LA makes him work harder: "...The distance, and the configuration of the city, gives you the possibility to focus entirely outside distractions, and therefore to develop your creativity. I do work constantly here, more than I used to do in Paris, but there is also here that lack of social pressure. Los Angeles is about making things."
Slimane was bullied for being skinny: "Many in high school, or in my family, were attempting to make me feel I was half a man because I was lean, and not an athletic build. They were bullying me for some time, so that I might feel uncomfortable with myself, insinuating skinny was 'queer.' There was certainly something homophobic and derogative about those remarks. I was eating quite much, doing a lot of sport, but when I was 15, 16, or 17, that was simply the way I was built."
On his rock-'n'-roll heroes: "I wanted to do everything to be like them, and not hide myself in baggy clothes to avoid negative comments. David Bowie, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Mick Jones, Paul Weller, I felt connected to their allure, aesthetic and style."
On fashion and the internet: "The audience has changed and increased with social media, which is now the main support for fashion and a direct connection. The Internet completely took over the industry. Your audience owns your communication...The fashion industry has not caught up to the current pace of social media."