Hedi Slimane: Criticism made me
Hedi Slimane thought the criticism he faced when he joined Yves Saint Laurent was a "blessing in disguise".
The 47-year-old was announced as the creative director of the French fashion house in March 2012. One of Hedi's first decisions was to change the brand's name to Saint Laurent, to much uproar and criticism.
"I believe the restoration of the name Saint Laurent was the only right thing to do, despite the irrational reactions surrounding my first year, ironically a blessing in disguise that unexpectedly gave all the publicity that was needed for my project," he told Yahoo Style in a rare interview. "Naturally, I couldn’t possibly imagine that going back to the historical and most respectful roots of Yves would create such a polemic.”
Hedi had previously worked as the ready-to-wear director of men's collections at the fashion house in the 90s, before progressing to artistic director. He had the chance to work with Yves Saint Laurent and he still references the designer's work today.
Hedi not only changed the brand's name but its whole image, and he was met with a wave of criticism before his first collection had even shown. But the feedback only made the designer stronger and more determined.
"I completely understand the reactions. There was a particular context, like someone switching off the music at a birthday party, but I knew my project would be sensitive... Really early on, my project was surrounded by heavy politics and conflicts of interests," he explained. "It all started before my first show, out of endless speculations. The tone was set no matter what I would design the first season.
"Criticism and polemic somehow allowed me to simply go straight to the point, take the highway. If you have a lot against you, you have nothing to lose, and you win your freedom. It is an open road to focus and pursue your goal with no strings attached.”