Hedi Slimane’s ‘Sonic’ Exhibition

From his time creating suits worn on stage by the likes of Jack White and Mick Jagger while at the helm of Dior Homme to his current role infusing modern day Penny Lane wear into the Saint Laurent woman’s wardrobe, Hedi Slimane has always been all about the rock and roll.  “Music is clearly, for me, the starting point of anything,” said Slimane, who often credits a single song as catalyst in his design process. Smitten since he received a copy of David Bowie’s ‘David Live’ alum, Slimane said music captured him from the very start-“it had an independence of vision, and a certain unaffected rawness that felt alluring and real.”

Now through January visitors to Paris’s Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent can take a look through the designer’s lens in ‘Sonic,’ an exhibition spanning fifteen years of Slimane’s photography capturing some of rock and roll’s most iconic people and places. “Photographing them is my way of keeping a diary or a chronicle of my time,” said Slimane, whose black and white portraits of Keith Richards, Lou Reed, Amy Winehouse, and Justin Timberlake, to name a few, intimately capture the muse behind the music. Slimane also showcases his years in London versus California in a video installation that takes a whirlwind tour front row and backstage through both music scenes.

Slimane’s musician portraits have been an ongoing part of the Saint Laurent brand since he stepped into the role of Creative Director, launching the Saint Laurent Music Project where legends and up and comers alike including Marianne Faithfull, Daft Punk, Chuck Berry, and Sky Ferreira styled themselves in current season and collection YSL duds and were photograph for the label’s print campaigns, as well as offered the opportunity to create runway show soundtracks.  For Saint Laurent, it’s a fitting continuation to the label’s relationship with rock royalty set by Yves himself, famously dressing Bianca Jagger in his iconic Le Smoking jacket to her 1971 St Tropez wedding to the Rolling Stones lead singer. The message of Slimane’s 2013 images of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon donning the same jacket in black is clear.  When it comes to YSL and rock and roll, the relationship is timeless.

Hedi Slimane: Sonic runs at the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris until January 11, 2015. fondation-pb-ysl.net

About the Author

Sarah Bertness is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer covering the arts, music, fashion and culture. She has a love for all things avant-garde, late night rock and roll, wanderlust, and a good dose of fringe and gold sequins. You can follow her musings on Twitter and Instagram @sarahbertness.