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Hedi Slimane, wild at heart

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In 2006, for my final year of political sciences, I was writing an essay about how Rock and Roll was once a rebel culture and had since become a style for luxurious fashion brands. By 2006, Hedi Slimane had fully transformed contemporary fashion by re-inventing men’s fashion at Dior Homme. For the skinny jeans, all-black outfits and multiplication of loose tee-shirts on runways, fashion can thank Hedi.

Although I’ve never met him personnally, it seems like I’ve known him for a long time. In 2014, I was at Saint Laurent Paris showroom, in a venue which grandeur also matched its roughness. Le Grand Palais was the perfect shelter to Hedi Slimane’s collection, as he had joined the revolutionary (mark the word) and respectable parisian house less than a year before. Everything was manically branded. All-black pencils and notepads were handed out to buyers, refreshments came in the form of bottle of waters bearing the same all-black label, even the napkins were all-black. As a famous hip-hop moghul once said: all-black-everything. And that name stood out, in its white minimal glory: Saint. Laurent. Paris.

Every classy woman in the world must have gasped in 2013, when they saw their beloved YSL monogram disappear from the tags, to let the brand become Saint Laurent Paris, letting the first name Yves settle into history. The fashion industry had rarely seen such a drastic rebrand, even less so when it comes to iconic brands. But Hedi Slimane is a man of integrity and his vision requires revolutionary actions to fulfill his full potential.

Upon his appointment at Yves Saint Laurent as Creative Director, not only did he request a rebranding which would allow to transform the brand into a timeless concept which would keep a legacy of Yves Saint Laurent – what marketers would call its DNA – but which would also be free creatively. He also requested that the creative studio was moved from Paris to Los Angeles, at great costs for the company. Materials have to be shipped between the two cities as well as brand executives and staff.

The recent rumors of Hedi Slimane’s departure from Saint Laurent Paris, 3 years after his arrival have uncovered more about the controversial designer. His requirements were of course dramatic, but the brand grew a lot in return. Commercial success was definitely achieved, and even our market – Vietnam, will soon have its first Saint Laurent Paris store, opening in Union Square, Ho Chi Minh City.

While the suspense amounts on whether Hedi Slimane will stay at Saint Laurent, let’s review his contribution and how his design style has made a mark in our closets. Before he took the direction, Yves Saint Laurent was viewed as a traditional brand with great class and elegance, representing Parisian glamour. But most of us often forget how controversial Yves was. One of the two biographic films that have released in cinemas in the past years narrates Yves Saint Laurent’s carreer with all his personal struggles, related to his love life and different abuses. While we all know creative geniuses have their dark side, our culture nowadays tends to forget that drama fuels the designer’s imagination as well as our own fantasies.

With his grunge collection released within one year at Saint Laurent, worn by super-pale skinny models, styled with rough make-up and disheveled looks, Slimane reinvented the brand’s rebellious DNA. While Yves had emancipated Women by creating Ready-To-Wear collections in opposition to Couture, one could say Hedi has reinvented the concept of Woman, acknowledging that a woman was once a girl, and can be both at the same time.

While many brands such as Marc Jacobs had chosen to design for women then diverted a line for younger girls (Marc by), Saint Laurent is an integral brand, both for lolitas and youthful mothers. The Woman by Hedi Slimane is one who knows what she wants, but knows what to let go. Rock and Roll was initially dismissed as a “silly” youth culture, but we now know that it was truly a culture for the smart. Hedi Slimane has successfully rebuilt Saint Laurent, connecting it better to contemporary lifestyle and the rich cultures shared by his clients.

Powerful women wearing Saint Laurent are the ones who know their art, who can share coffee with writers, who invest in young talents – like Hedi who surrounds himself with up and coming talents as icons too, instead of chosing huge celebrities. Whether we’d like to wear torn jeans or not is not really the matter when it comes to understanding Hedi Slimane’s collections.

It is all about feeling empowered and meaningful. The style is loud and uncompromising. Saint Laurent is what Yves Saint Laurent was: a haven for creative explosion and total control of your identity.

Who are the most admired people in the world? The ones who are true to their heart, faithful to their mission. This is the essence of Hedi Slimane’s work: to pursue a wild path of creation, where cricticism and controversy means you matter.

For us, wearing Saint Laurent is a statement of boldness and honesty.

I may not always be a fan of Hedi Slimane’s collections at Saint Laurent. But I can say that I admire the energy, the confidence and the intelligence that transpires from the women he dresses up.

Anthony Vaccarello (photo: iD)

“Fast and Furious Fashion” – the ascension of Anthony Vaccarello

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When Saint Laurent Paris announced the introduction of Anthony Vaccarello as the new Creative Director of the brand following Hedi Slimane’s exit, my curiosity was piqued by a friend’s anecdote on Facebook.

Victoria, a former “ticket girl” at Lambert & Associates – a leading fashion office and trends spotter agency with clients such as Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman, commented on the nomination with a throwback to 2013.

“And then you remember yourself calling this guy a few years ago and hear him explain as calmly as possible that no he didn’t get my messages and has no idea what urgent matter I am talking about because he is alone and going crazy.”

The urgent matter was a seating issue for his upcoming show. As Victoria explained, the office scouts promising designers such as Vaccarello in 2013 and arranges for them to be seen by influential buyers. The other way around, department stores get an insightful update on what is going to break through in creativity and trends. Among the missions coordinated by the agency is the “ticket run”. Victoria was in charge of arranging seating plans for the show, and as one would expect, that is the most political and sensitive part of the Fashion Week Circus. Who gets front row? Who is going to cancel attendance to go grab a McDonald’s getaway? Who may be offended by this sudden change of plans?

Victoria’s comment reveals how fast and furious the fashion world can be. The big picture being within 3 years, a talented designer went from the struggles of independent label development to the pressure of a massive house’s legacy. In the details of the story, we can also witness a breathtaking disproportion between the investment necessary for a young designer label to develop (creative input, production management, PR support, sales pressure) and the actual scale of loneliness that one can experience.

With a whole industry looking at his work since 2010 and support provided, Anthony Vaccarello still felt alone at the helm of his label, hours before his shows. Will this experience help him coordinate the machinery that is Saint Laurent Paris?

Looking back at Hedi Slimane’s very specific habits as a director, we can only ask ourselves if his secret wasn’t that he mastered the loneliness of the designer so that it drove the brand forward.

While we wish Anthony Vaccarello all the success deserved at the helm of Saint Laurent Paris, we can’t help but be wary of the ongoing furiousness of designer’s life. At every level of the industry, it seems that they need more support, and not only from ticket girls.


JORD Wood Watch Delmar closeup 2

JORD Wood Watch review: pleasure for the eyes and for the skin

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When it comes to watches, men are extremely demanding. It’s probably one of the few accessories we dare to wear.

A watch is highly personal; an immediate contact with our skin. An object we like to see changing with time, with our special moments. A companion of our love, encounters, meetings, pains and hopes.

So, when JORD suggested a review of their wooden watches, I was initially very surprised. Wood? And watch? How is that even possible. And actually, few other bloggers had already expressed a positive opinion on that matter.

I can now confess: they were right.
JORD Wood Watch Delmar closeup

The wood of the Delmar model is extremely comfortable. It’s very light, gives a non-aggressive look and feel to your daily outfits. I also love putting my watch out of my wrist on my desk when I work. It’s a very nice and elegant object, which can totally match a nice Moleskine. I also like the fact it’s pretty similar to the design furniture we have in our loft, made of recycled wood and garment.

JORD Wood Watch Delmar watch

The display is very clear; despite a pretty big surface for this model, it doesn’t seem “bling”.

JORD Wood Watch Delmar


I also like the fact that this kind of watch can go vintage pretty well. Wood tends to change its colour with time, and will later give this little something that makes your object and its history really yours.

Watches Made From 100% Natural Wood by JORD

Kanye West

“The world can be saved through design” – Kanye West

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We’re amazed at how the auto-proclaimed “biggest rockstar of all” Kanye West has managed to make a move on the whole media-sensitive creative sphere. As reluctant as the so-called underground scene might feel, Ye is smartly sharing his point to the world. After crying out loud on general media, M. West also took the discreet and subtle time to talk to the ones he says he defends: the creative minds.

Here he is, having a sweet talk to the ears of Harvard Graduate School of Design, waivering some subtle humor: “I’m not a politician, I am – at my best – politically incorrect”, and keeping his cool. No Rant For Once!

Creative genius? Who are we to judge. But Marketing genius? Definitely.

Mara-Hoffman-Mercedes benz

Mercedes-Benz convertible cars: the Fashion Weeks’ favorite vessels

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The long-lasting relationship of convertible cars and fashion is arguably one of the most solid affairs within the fash world.

Mercedes-Benz has further nurtured the links between its own range of convertible cars by actively promoting the fashion business since it first sponsored the London Fashion Week in 2009.

Not only the German car brand has sponsored the Mercedes-Benz LFW for the past years, but its most covetable cars have done the catwalks around the world and became fashion items

Mercedes convertible cars have been used in fashion shoots for decades, being used to automatically inject that little bit of rock’n’roll glam into the brand itself. Ultimately, the cars also provide that needed coherence along the narrative lines, instantly upgrading the advertising to a piece of artwork.

However, the Mercedes isn’t always just a prop in a fashion editorial’s glossy pages. Thanks to the personal touch of Mara Hoffman, the designer’s print Mercedes convertible stole the limelight earlier this year at the Miami Swim Week. The designer’s unique fashion sense went into action, covering the car in the bright, statement prints that she is rapidly becoming known for. This particular design was to celebrate Mara’s appointment to the ‘Mercedes-Benz Presents’ designer, alongside 30 of the industry’s most influential designers.


Free New Slaves: Alexander Wang vs Jay Z videos

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This week two videos of exceptional events in NYC hit the tubes with a curious common background. On one hand the hottest top designer Alexander Wang – fascinating fashionisti worldwide as well as God himself: Kanye West, on the other the biggest player in the rap game: Jay Z.

First pictures come from the now famous Undisclosed Event of Fall 2013 T by Alexander Wang, that saw a horde of fans gone wild in a warehouse free release of T products. We’ve been wondering if this was faked as a postmodern crowd performance serving the brand, but apparently the operation was staged to obtain this crazy frenzy naturally. Thus proving our friend Kanye right: NEW SLAVES.

The other video comes from a rare performance by Jay Z serving 6 hours of Picasso Baby in a contemporary art gallery, hosting a truckload of hip friends coming to share the light, among those the whole GIRLS cast including our darling Jemima Kirke else found would be underrated actor Alan Cumming, and other NYC most wanted underground socialites.

Actually we’re wondering which one of these two clips is the most intriguing. The one where the king of his own industry just makes sure to name drop his art into legimity, or the other connecting dots between social observation, art expression and deliberate marketed promotion at the same time… Frankly, NYC is too big a platform for other stages to compare for now. Wake up Europe!

michelle williams louis vuitton

Michelle Williams x Louis Vuitton: behind the scenes of a major brand revamping

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It might sound like a random release of another actress being endorsed by a brand, but in the case of Michelle Williams and Louis Vuitton, it’s probably a bit deeper than that.

Michelle Williams was selected by Louis Vuitton for her independent spirit with which she has forged her path through Hollywood defined by her outstanding talent, her passion for her craft, and her choice of daring and challenging roles,”

Maybe. But as the French iconic brand is now engaging a major revamping, this release is actually a very good sign.

Louis Vuitton is back in business in the sense that Michelle Williams’ has never accepted any fashion endorsement, except for Band of Outsiders for spring/summer 2012. Louis Vuitton gets what other brands can’t achieve.

The next move will be to create contents or partnerships that are truly unique to other luxury brands. A bit like Sprouse, now ages ago.

But hey: even if we’re sometimes pretty harsh with LV, we bet they’re going to make it.

lea seydoux rag bone

Lea Seydoux and Michael Pitt on the rocks for Rag & Bone FW 13 campaign

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Rag & Bone keeps rocking. After a promising SS14 show during LCM, the NYC label has just revealed an interesting ad campaign for its Fall Winter 2013 collection.

rag-bone-aw-adshe s

Lea Seydoux and Michael Pitt are the new icons of the brand. Glen Luchford, Palme d’Or s’il vous plait, shot the 2 megastars in a very Taxi Driver like New York.

“For us, it’s all about using individuals we view as iconic characters and Léa and Michael absolutely represent the spirit of the brand. They’re both genuine, cool people,” explains Marcus Wainwright

Fleur Huynh

Fleur Huynh: “My closet is like a private club”

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Time for a new interview with another top fashion influencer! Today, meet Fleur Huynh, fashion editor for Apollo Novo, a France-based men’s fashion magazine. Together, we’ll enter her back-to-black wardrobe, and ask about her favorite pieces of clothing.


Rumor Time! Does every fashion editor have a house-sized closet?

Well, how to start… when you live in Paris, it is pretty hard to have an house-sized apartment to hold the house-sized closet, but I luckily have quite a big space to store it all…in my bedroom, in my living room, but also at my dad’s, and I don’t even mention what I left in Australia! (I was supposed to come back for a three-month holidays break in Paris, and in fact, it’s now been two years. The city has kidnapped me!) Funnily enough, I always wear the same things. My closet is always full of pieces I am pulling out for work from designers showrooms… Pieces come in and out, I mainly do menswear so the temptation isn’t killing as much as when I have to give it back.

Are you attached to one piece in particular? What’s it’s story?

My leather jacket and my capeline hat. If you know me a little, you would know that my closet is like a private club, whatever isn’t leather and black do not go in. I look like a raven most days. My leather jacket was a present from my Mum five years ago and I don’t think I have ever worn a piece more in my entire life. It is not a designer piece, it is from a little shop in Australia. I had doubts the few first time I wore it… now it is THE staple piece of my wardrobe. The day it will die on me will be a hard time so I will do everything for it not to happen.

The hat, very Saint-Laurent. It is an extension of myself now. I got it as it was raining and I was lazy to hold an umbrella at that time. It is one piece that brings any of my outfits to the next level.


Who’s your favorite designer? Does he/she affects your work?

I have an undying love for the designer Jean-Claude Jitrois artistry. He truly masters leather and I can not deny my passion for it. Any pieces has its sexiness and sleekness, and make you feel like a vixen, strong and powerful. I also adore Zana Bayne who designs modern leather harnesses. I love mixing styles and textures within my work, like adding a harness to a sleek Dior Homme suit. This balance of chic, sexy and edgy, mixing texture, culture and gender… I must say I love my job.


Moving on to the bag, any unexpected item to declare?

My bag is what inspired the souks of Marrakesh I believe… Ipad, sewing kits and cutlery… I live for picnics with my friends. If the picnic becomes too opulent and the clothes tear apart, it can be fixed. Always. I am like Mac Giver.


Tell me more about a weird fashion habit of yours.

Wearing exclusively black is not that weird of a fashion habit… Though, when your friends ask you how you are feeling today with a concerned voice because you are, for once, somehow wearing that royal blue jacket… It seems good enough to be pointed out.


If you could hide any fashion piece from this season in your bag, what would it be?

Ryan Gosling and his white t-shirt from Drive… That is totally an “In trend fashion piece”, right?