French designer Hedi Slimane has never been especially talkative in the media. The former creative director for Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent rarely opens up, and when he does, people listen. Last year, he gave a widely-read interview in which he talked about being bullied as a child and how that affected his designs, but since that time he has been rather silent. His Twitter account, too, was deactivated a few years ago as he began the bulk of his work at YSL.
It was a shock, then, when Slimane’s Twitter was resurrected last week. The account now shows records of only 22 tweets, all posted on October 6. These are not happy returns to the spotlight, however. All of the messages are defensive and angry, posted in all capital letters.
The impetus for Slimane’s revival of his social media presence was an article in New York Magazine written by fashion reviewer Cathy Horyn. In it, Horyn gives reserved praise to Anthony Vaccarello’s first collection for YSL while throwing backhanded digs at Slimane, Vaccarello’s predecessor. She recalls other critics judging his first collection for its “trashiness” and reminds the reader that during Slimane’s time at YSL, she was not allowed to visit the brand’s premises. What Slimane seems to have taken issue with the most, however, is that Horyn asserts that Slimane attempted to rebrand the label, removing the “Yves” from the name, but ultimately failed to make a lasting impact. “The truth is,” she writes, “despite Slimane’s efforts, most people still say YSL.”
“THERE HAVE BEEN INACCURATE STATEMENTS ON RECENT ARTICLES REGARDING HEDI AND THE USAGE OF THE YSL HISTORICAL LOGO,” reads the first tweet. The first message is followed by a slurry of Slimane designs that incorporate the iconic three-letter logo. Horyn is correct in that the first word of the brand’s name was removed (this had a greater impact than the critic stated—the name “Saint Laurent Paris” and the acronym SLP actually stuck and became widely used in some circles). According to the designer himself, though, this was a show of respect, rather than disrespect, for the brand’s history. “Yves Saint Laurent” is the name of the designer who founded the label, whereas dropping the first name brings the brand name closer to what it originally was 50 years ago. “The return to the original name would also help me to recreate a legitimate and lost balance,” said Slimane in the aforementioned interview.
Slimane and Horyn have had issues in the past, Horyn generally unimpressed with Slimane’s designs and Slimane openly insulting Horyn’s personal style and calling her “a schoolyard bully.” These spats are a shame, tarnishing the names of two respectable individuals. Though Slimane’s designs are certainly polarizing, it is impossible to deny his prominence in the fashion world. Although Horyn’s criticism is often brutally pointed, her knowledge of and insight on fashion is clear. Hearing from Hedi, especially in a heated rant, is always exciting, but both parties would ultimately benefit from setting aside their differences and communicating without indirect insults.
Who do you think is in the wrong in this case? Let’s talk here or on Twitter @BillChangNY