Hedi Slimane is one of those intriguing designers who, despite being off the fashion calendar, maintains a cult following for his work. After he left Saint Laurent last spring, he's kept a pretty low profile within the industry, save for the occasional Twitter spat. One rumour following his departure from the French fashion house was that Slimane would finally launch a much-hoped-for namesake label. He quickly shut that down — well, his lawyer did, via a since-deleted statement shared on the designer's social media channels. In the interim, he's decided to pursue photography, which Slimane has always pursued as a side project to his high-profile design gigs, as a full-time endeavour, The New York Times reports. So, his big fashion comeback, while not totally out of the question, is on hold for now. "Naturally, photography will always be there, however I never intended to stop designing," he told the Times. In the interview, he explained that photography has always been a part of his career; it's just existed parallel to fashion. Slimane is starting off his all-in career as a lensman by debuting a series of portfolios he photographed for V. Titled "New York Diary" and released in three instalments, he follows different artists and creators based in the Big Apple and captures them in a series of B&W portraits.
Aside from the occasional editorial he's shot for Saint Laurent, photography and design didn't intersect professionally all that often for Slimane. But this series is totally different. "It is a photographic repertoire of its own," Slimane said of fashion imagery, adding that it's about "a certain romanticism, precisely composed, with a production, groomers, stylist, etc." His V portfolio, on the other hand, "is about direct, spontaneous and reduced portraiture, something like a principle of bare realism around the subject only." (Yeah, we'll give you a moment to parse through that explanation.) He actually hasn't worked on fashion photography since he left Saint Laurent, he told the magazine, but he doesn't consider the genre to be totally off-limits. So, for now, working behind a camera, instead of on a sketchpad or in an atelier, appears to be Slimane's focus. However, this doesn't mean Slimane's fashion chapter has been closed for good. "I never said I will stop designing in the future," he said. He also remains steadfast about the fact that you'll probably never see his name printed on the clothing tag. "My own name was always off limits, dedicated to photography," Slimane explained to the Times. So, if (or, let's be real, when) Slimane returns to design, don't expect it to be an eponymous line.