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Hedi Slimane Opens Up About Homophobia & Bullying

Hedi Slimane Opens Up About Homophobia & Bullying

Hedi Slimane Gay Interview Bullying

The creative director of Saint Laurent responds to critics and talks about his personal life

One of the most press-shy designers, Hedi Slimane has given an exclusive interview to Yahoo in which he reveals being bullied as a child for his "queer" looks.

Since he took over Saint Laurent, in 2012, his tenure has been marked by controversy, but business is booming: Saint Laurent's profits have doubled, and Slimane recently re-opened its couture atelier for both men and women.

In a rare (and fascinating) face-to-face with the media, Slimane opens up to interviewer Dirk Standen on his tendency to feature super-skinny models in his campaigns and runway shows:

What do you say to people who say that you are too obsessed with a certain skinny ideal of youth?

Hedi Slimanre: There is always a part of what you do that refers to your childhood, or youth. I was precisely just like any of these guys I photograph, or that walk my shows. Jackets were always a little too big for me. Many in high school, or in my family, were attempting to make me feel I was half a man because I was lean, and not an athletic build. They were bullying me for some time, so that I might feel uncomfortable with myself, insinuating skinny was "queer." There was certainly something homophobic and derogative about those remarks. I was eating quite much, doing a lot of sport, but when I was 15, 16, or 17, that was simply the way I was built.

Slimane goes on explaining how he turned to music icons such as Mick Jagger and David Bowie to define his androgynous aesthetic:

There is that idea of androgyny, which is associated to my silhouette and design since the late '90s, and I presume a reflection of how I was, and how I looked growing up, the lack of gender definition. I could recognize it and feel a connection at the time with "The Thin White Duke" character of Bowie. This is pretty much the origin of everything I did in design after that, a boy or a girl with the same silhouette.

The designer evokes his admiration for the late Yves Saint Laurent and his long-time partner, Pierre Berge, remembering how they attended his debut runway show at Dior Homme. Slimane explains his decision to change the brand name and get rid of the "Yves," a move that he intended as a throwback to the label's origins in the 1960s, but which the industry and the public saw as disrespect for Saint Laurent's legacy.

Slimane also talks about his creative process, his love for L.A., his religious beliefs ("My faith, which was never imposed upon me, is really important in my life,") and gives some insight on the current state of the fashion industry ("The fashion industry has not caught up to the current pace of social media"). Read the full interview at

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