The arrival of designer Hedi Slimane at Christian Dior in 2000 marked an epoch change in men’s style. Slimane’s reputation is founded on having streamlined and rejuvenated the male silhouette through the promotion of a skinny style appropriated from youth subcultures. Slimane’s rebranding of the Dior menswear line (from the fusty Christian Dior Monsieur to the hip Dior Homme) adapted a range of urban street styles to suit the in-house tradition of classicism and bourgeois elegance. This article sets out to assess the designer’s conscious reworking of masculinity, replacing virile men with skinny boys, perceived as the clearest paradigm shift in male fashion imagery since Armani, as well as tracking Slimane’s impact on the landscape of contemporary fashion. Along with Tom Ford, Slimane is emblematic of the rise of the “creative director” engineering not only the various collections but also the brand’s visual identity right down to store design and the architecture of the Dior Homme boutiques worldwide. This article situates Slimane’s designs more broadly within the history of popular culture and the visual arts through a contextual focus on his cultural references and influences (notably David Bowie’s Berlin and the British rock music scene), alongside coverage of his recent photographic work on American youth cultures.
Bibliographical notePublisher: Bloomsbury Publishing London
- French fashion, contemporary menswear, visual culture, masculinity, mod fashion