Céline’s Hedi Slimane rediscovers his first love, rock photography, to design the poster for a documentary on the New York music scene

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After years in the high fashion and haute couture trenches, Celine’s creative director, Hedi Slimane, has finally listened to his destiny as a merch group. Slimane delved into his photo archives to piece together some vintage snaps for a chic poster for the NYC rock documentary Meet me in the bathroom. The film is based on the 2017 oral history published by Dey Street Books which traces the rise of bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem and The Strokes at the turn of the new millennium.

Hedi Slimane’s editing for Meet me in the bathroom.

Collaboration is natural. Slimane’s rock and roll spirit shines through clearly in all of his work, regardless of the fashion house. Certain archetypes reappear in the crowd: the babydoll in riot gear, the androgynous glam, the disgruntled postpunk trench coat, and perhaps most famously, the New Wave sidekick in skin-tight suits. Slimane’s Spring 23 line seems to be about first-generation Teddy Boys and bondage punks in the UK

The core of his work is about mining subcultures, and Slimane has immersed himself in them since day one. What makes his artful visions of a myriad of genres captivating is the level of passion and authenticity he brings to them. Not only does Slimane curate the soundtrack for Celine’s show (often commissioning original music from obscure talent), but he even personally curates the playlists for stores. And of course, he shoots all the fashion campaigns himself.

The period of the documentary is also superimposed on a fascinating period for Slimane. As creative director of Dior Homme, he had already been at the forefront of the conversation between fashion and underground rock, outfitting many European bands of the time and always spotted at gigs.

The man behind the shimmering curtain.  Photo: Hedi Slimane

The man behind the shimmering curtain. Photo: Hedi Slimane

He started an online photo diary in 2006 – an unheard-of personal project by someone of his stature in the pre-Instagram era, particularly a notoriously press-averse designer. Was he a mystery or an open book? He’s always been a mix of the two really, communicating through any means but his words.

Slimane’s musical adventures also often bled into the visual diary. The diary quickly became a must in the fashion world. When he left Dior Homme, he began his years of wandering in the desert, from 2007 to 2012, which were nevertheless immensely fertile. He devotes himself to black and white photography, his first love before fashion. He had such a devotion to art (as well as universal praise for his talent) that many expected him to never become a designer again and instead pursue the romantic, individualistic fate. He often photographed musicians, discovering not only up-and-coming bands, but also many faces in the audience for his captivating and moving portraits.

Illuminating the times.  Photo: Hedi Slimane

Illuminating the times. Photo: Hedi Slimane

These are not the types of images he selected for this project, however, opting for still lifes, with no explanation of provenance, except that they are from the period covered by the documentary. His aim seems to have been to evoke the mood of the time, but his images also say a lot about him and his larger enigma.

The movie poster was offered to viewers at the New York premiere on October 30, which also included a performance by the reformed Moldy Peaches. The film opens widely in New York and Los Angeles on November 4, followed by a national rollout on November 11.

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