Possible conversations: Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons


From 7th of May onwards the city of New York and the world of fashion will be with the eyes wide open to follow the new exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum. Entitled “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”, the show will trace parallels between the work of the two Italian female designers: Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) and Miuccia Prada (1949).

Inspired by the title of the exhibition, The Gentleman website decided to publish here an opposite idea, the “possible” conversations, in reference to the dialogue between two other designers: the French Hedi Slimane (pictured above on the left side) and the Belgian Raf Simons (on the right). Slimane is returning to the maison Yves Saint Laurent, where he worked between 1997 and 2000, to assume total control of the creative direction. Simons is  the new creative designer of the womenswear and couture collections at Christian Dior. They will show the first results of their work on the upcoming seasons in July and October in Paris.

Actually the dialogue (or competition?) that might be established between those two names tend to be quite fruitful. Slimane and Simons have a lot in common. Both learned their craft in menswear: Hedi Slimane made the skinny jeans popular all around the world when he still was the creative director of Dior Homme and Raf Simons developed a new sense for masculinity, more young and fragile, in the collections for his eponymous label founded in 1995.

Simons actually was for quite a long time only known in the Parisian fashion scene and didn’t talk to the press for years. It was only when he took over the creative direction of the label Jil Sander in 2005 that his work and influence could be noticed. Nevertheless his first menswear collections are surprisingly current and wearable.

Those two talented names provoked together important changes in the wardrobe of the contemporary man: both were responsible for putting the slim silhouette in fashion (Raf Simons being sometimes credited for doing it much earlier than Slimane) and both accelerated the cross over between music, art and fashion in the digital age – as both have a huge interest in music and youth culture. The similarities even can be looked through their preference to cast non-professional models for their men’s shows (many of them adolescents from the streets of Berlin or Paris).

But the comparisons should stop here: Slimane and Simons might perhaps follow very different routes in their respective new roles while creating womenswear collections. After all each of them will have to revisit the legacy of two maisons that were historically always rivals: Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior.

Time will tell how the dialogue will look like… But on the meantime you can learn more about those two designers and their work here: we prepared a quiz for you to test your knowledge about the future kings of fashion.


Check it out below and click on the “Start” button! ;-)
(In case the quiz doesn’t load, please click here to answer it in a new page) 



Text, quiz test and collage: Hermano Silva