Hedi Slimane Fully Roasted LA in His First Celine Interview

Et tu, Hedi?

by Emma Specter
Sep 25 2018, 4:08pm


Former Dior Homme and Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane just did his first interview in his new role as artistic director of Celine, and it contained more than one (gratuitous?) jab at Los Angeles.

Slimane famously moved the Saint Laurent headquarters to LA from Paris in 2012, and has become a pillar of the LA fashion community ever since. This long-term love affair with LA made it all the more surprising when, in his interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, the normally tight-lipped designer said, "I arrived in California in 2008, and I was already very attracted to Los Angeles, where I frequently went since the end of the 1990s. I would start all my Dior collections there, in my hotel room. The city was still asleep, so it was the perfect time to fill in a blank page. There was no creative or artistic stimulation yet, nor was there an emergence of a strong music scene."

Slimane added, "[Los Angeles] has changed today. It's been taken over and the authenticity is slowly getting lost because the megalopolis appeals to the world and the youth. Los Angeles is an open-air construction site and its mythical places are disappearing day by day." Way harsh, Tai!

As a proud former resident of LA, I'd like to respectfully state: this simply ain't it, chief. You don't have to have lived in LA (although did I mention that I did?) to know that the city wasn't—and isn't—exactly a barren cultural wasteland, no matter what the New York Times might lead you to believe.

Bagging on LA is a tradition as old as time, and one I certainly partook in while I lived there (why can't anyone use their turn signal? Why does the Beverly Center look like that? What, for the love of God, is the difference between Jons and Vons?), but this is the city that inspired artists from David Hockney to NWA to Noah Purifoy to Catherine Opie to Rafa Esparza to so, so many more.

No, the city isn't perfect, but put some respect on its good name, Hedi! After all, it's not like your hometown of Paris is beyond reproach. Fashion inspiration is still coming out of LA, from half of Eckhaus Latta to Yeezy's Calabasas designs to Beyonce's Coachella show. Yes, Slimane has a point that the energy in LA has "fatally changed" since Trump's election, but that's true everywhere! Besides, at least LA artists are doing something about it.

Hedi Slimane
Los Angeles