Hedi Slimane, who has worked in the Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Homme design departments, thinks you look cheap in your designer dress.
In an interview for Menswear Daily, Slimane said, “Nothing looks worse than a dress or a suit on a red carpet. It is an ongoing tragedy of cheap fashion... I only like designers’ clothes on models. Good models have an inner understanding of the clothes and design.” He was unspecific as to what that “understanding” entails.
In three quick sentences, Slimane insulted women and men everywhere who dedicate their life to fashion. Even women who don’t wear designer labels but still follow fashion should take offense. Those women are still just as inspired by and appreciative of couture collections as those lucky enough to wear them. If he thinks celebrities like Sandra Bullock and James Franco look awful in their red carpet best, imagine how little old you, sitting on your bedroom floor pouring over the latest issue of Vogue, will look in the Chanel jacket you’re saving up for. Tacky, to say the very least.
Tough words from a man who depends on the approval of the public to continue working. Fashion needs widespread validation to survive. Who, exactly, did he think was delivering his paycheck when he worked at Dior? Not the teenage models whom the label pays in clothes instead of cash, but rather the women and men who bought Dior’s clothes, who wait in line at N.Y. Fashion Week to get into his shows. Us lowly girls, either too short or too ethnic or too fat to grace his runway are paying his bills and appreciating his work. He would do well to show humility in the face of the people who support and celebrate his art form.
Our “inner understanding” of clothes is that we look good in them. Fashion can empower women to look and feel fantastic about themselves, and give them a creative outlet in the name of self-expression. His statement invalidates our ability to relate to and experience fashion, despite appearance, economic situation or social status. Just because I don’t know the inner workings of the designer’s artistic process doesn’t mean I look cheap. It means I look like a girl who appreciates the design and the aesthetics of the garment — at its most base level, that’s all that fashion should really be about.