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The New York Times: A Fashion Designer's Second Act with Hedi Slimane

Following his 2007 resignation as artistic director at Dior Homme, many people anticipated Hedi Slimane to branch out and start his own fashion label – a freedom that one could easily expect following the widely publicized conflicts with former label executives. While a brief hiatus is certainly understandable, since leaving the French label, former fashion designer Slimane has since reinvented himself into an unexpected persona: a photographer. The New York Times writer Austin Considine recently wrote an article entitled “A Fashion Designer’s Second Act” that explores the inspirational transition of Hedi Slimane to his now successful photographic career. Slimane has since worked with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, Robert DeNiro and Giselle Bundchen, steadily compiling an extensive portfolio of work. The article arrives in advance of Slimane’s “California Song” exhibition that opens this Saturday at MOCA in Los Angeles.

Read the full article here with an excerpt seen below.

WHEN Hedi Slimane stepped down as artistic director at Dior Homme in 2007, Fashion Wire Daily summed up his tenure this way: “Slimane leaves Dior with the well-earned reputation as the single most influential men’s designer this century, the most copied of his peers and the only one to achieve the status of a rock star.”

The comparison was apt, given Mr. Slimane’s celebrity and his role in styling the likes of Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Jack White, and the outsize reputation he garnered in his relatively brief life as a fashion designer, starting at Yves Saint Laurent in 1996, when he was just 28, and then at Dior in 2000.

Few people leave their profession when they are at the top of the game. In fashion, perhaps only Tom Ford comes to mind. But even Mr. Ford — after a stint in Hollywood that culminated in his direction of the Oscar-nominated “A Single Man” — came back into the fold and is now designing again.

But Mr. Slimane seems to have left fashion behind with nary a second thought, reinventing himself as a photographer in the past few years, one who has produced an array of strikingly intimate portraits, nearly all of them black and white, of some of the most famous faces in contemporary culture: Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Brian Wilson, Gisele Bundchen, Robert De Niro and Kate Moss.

Never one to talk volubly about himself — interviews from when he was at Saint Laurent and Dior were infrequent, and now read as if they might have been slightly torturous for the young designer — Mr. Slimane has remained somewhat elusive in his new career. He regularly declines to talk to the press and consented to an interview only under the condition that it be conducted solely by e-mail.

His postfashion life has not gone entirely unnoticed, however. Most recently, Mr. Slimane’s photographs of an all-grown-up Frances Bean Cobain — the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love — became an Internet sensation, bringing Mr. Slimane’s name back into the public domain.

Those portraits of Ms. Cobain — “It was about a simple testimony of her 18 years,” Mr. Slimane wrote in an e-mail — followed a series of well-received gallery shows in Europe and the release of a new book of Mr. Slimane’s photos, “Anthology of a Decade: 2000-2010.” And now there is the unveiling of an exhibition of his new work, “California Song,” which opens on Saturday at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center.

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