Over the past five years, Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane has made us realize the sexiness of skinny, young men with killer bodies. Well, it was either him or Bel Ami, but either way Slimane has narrowed the male silhouette and brought tapered pants back into style since he took over designing the Dior menswear line in 2001. His designs have become must-haves for the hippest celebrities with no hips.
The New Yorker has published a detailed profile of Slimane, in which he discusses his many idiosyncracies, including the fact that he is rarely nostalgic, except for David Bowie and girls in tight jumpsuits:
Hedi Slimane sits alone in his room, in a pleasant but not very fashionable part of Paris, mooning over an album cover. He has just turned six. The year is 1974. The record, a birthday gift from a friend of his older sister, is â€œDavid Liveâ€â€”David Bowie, recorded at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia. The friend, VÃ©ronique, likes to put on a blue jumpsuit and imitate Bowie. She does a good Mick Jagger, too. Slimane is captivated by her. He is also captivated by the album cover, which features a photograph of Bowie onstage, dressed in a powder-blue double-breasted suit: the jacket is cut short, with narrow but square shoulders, and the pants, although pleated and billowy in the legs, are tight at the crotch.
The more attractive pieces in the Dior Homme line in fact seem to us to be very nostalgic, in that they make men today look like sexy men from decades past. Skinny pants, skinny ties, skinny boys… Ah weren’t those the days?
Slimane actually spends a good deal of his time looking for the perfect skinny boys to model for him. Sometimes he gets his driver to take him out in the middle of the night on what he calls “boy safaris”:
Slimane is distinguished from most other designers by his practice of casting unknowns or nonprofessionals for his shows. Like everyone else in the trade, he calls them â€œboys.â€ He spots them on the street or in clubsâ€”a process that Slimane calls â€œboy safari.â€ He wonâ€™t really say what the right attributes are, and they can vary from show to show, but generally he prefers his boys tall, lean, slightly androgynous, and English. Usually, he has an assistant make the approach, but if he is alone he will do it himself. He then summons all the candidates to a photography studio and whittles them down to three or four dozen, whom he invites to Paris for fittings. Casting is a year-round job.
The article makes clear how moody and French Slimane is, but also how talented. It’s rumored that he will design both mens and womenswear for Yves Saint Laurent when his Dior contract expires this July. Will we see girls in skinny pants and skinny ties? For now we’re content looking at the boys, in and out of their clothes. Photos from the Dior Homme Summer 2006 campaign are after the jump.