Celine designer Hedi Slimane does not hold back when it comes to delivering his diatribes virtually. Be it Twitter or via email, Slimane's responses to criticism are often raw-edged, unlike his collections. So, naturally, the tidal wave of backlash from his Celine debut didn't sit so well with the Parisian expat.
In an interview with journalist Loïc Prigent of France TMC channel's "5 Minutes de Mode" on Wednesday, Slimane spoke via email with Prigent of his reactions to, well, everyone else's. He even addressed the Trump comparisons. "It’s always very jarring and I always feel like people are talking about someone else," he began. "Besides, the spirit of the show was light and joyful, but lightness and insouciance are being called into question these days. I’ve already been through this at Saint Laurent." He's at least right about that. The industry did not oblige when it came to responding to Slimane's dropping of the 'Yves' from 'Yves Saint Laurent' before he'd even shown his first collection, similar to how he dropped the accent from Celine (a return to its original form).
"You’re dealing with politics, conflicts of interest, cliques, a predictable attitude, but also staggering exaggerations of conservatism and puritanism,” he continued. "Violence is a reflection of our time — the rabble-rousing spirit of social networks, despite the fact that they are a formidable community tool. There are no longer any limits, hatred is amplified and takes over." Slimane noted that, in particular, American critics took the collection more personally than, say, the European market. (To note: We did. The fact that his less-than-joyous debut fell on the day of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing was impossible to ignore.)
He then, somehow, began to denounce some of his criticism as being homophobic. "For some in America, I also have the poor taste of being a man who is succeeding a woman. You could read into that a subtext of latent homophobia that is quite surprising. Is a man drawing women’s collections an issue?" (No.) "At the end of the day, all of this is unexpected publicity for this collection. We didn’t expect as much. Above all, it crystallises a very French form of anti-conformism and freedom of tone at Celine." Prigent promises more to come of his interview with Slimane, which is set to be revealed on a longer version of his five-minute segment, "52 Minutes de Mode." We will be watching.