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Slimane Sees Return to Fashion, Mum on When

TOKYO — Hedi Slimane is contemplating a fashion comeback — he?s just not ready to say when or how.

Hedi Silmane

TOKYO — Hedi Slimane is contemplating a fashion comeback — he’s just not ready to say when or how.

This story first appeared in the July 15, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In an interview, the former Dior Homme designer was candid about his desire to return to the fashion world. “Of course,” he said. “But it has to be right, the right project.”

Slimane, who was here to shoot the debut cover of Vogue Hommes Japan, said he needed time to regroup after leaving Dior Homme last year.

“I didn’t want to deal with that for a while, but now [over the last] six months I’m considering options,” Slimane said, adding that he has held talks with others about starting his own label. But the designer went no further in terms of details. “It’s a secret,” he laughed.

Slimane was more willing to talk about his other pursuits, namely his new photographic survey of the music scene, a tome called “Rock Diary,” and how he feels like he never left fashion.

“I don’t really think I quit fashion in a way,” Slimane said at the Grand Hyatt’s French Kitchen restaurant, clad in a Wrangler denim shirt, black jeans and an asymmetric angular haircut.

The designer said he transferred his creative vision to another medium when he left Dior Homme in March 2007 and resumed his photography career, a passion he has nurtured since developing photos as a kid in his own darkroom. “I still do my casting so the boy I shoot or the girl I shoot — they would have been in my shows anyway.”

The Vogue Hommes Japan shoot is Slimane’s first in Tokyo, a “vibrant” place he said he wishes he could visit more frequently. His last trip was three years ago. “The young generation, they know so much about fashion,” he said. “It’s very impressive.”

Although he spent most of the interview talking about his thought process when he’s behind the lens, Slimane never veered far from a fashion parallel.

“There’s something that happens sometimes in front of the camera, which is usually off guard, like the moment that you capture when the character in front of you just forgot you have a camera….[Photography] is still design because of the choice you make and the way you see the proportion in photography,” he said. “Also the image you keep pursuing is just like a fashion moment as well.”

For “Rock Diary,” which is being released this month in the U.S. and Japan, Slimane followed music fans around rock festival Benicàssim in the summer of last year and then shot them in his studio. He also chronicled the resurgence of “indie” music with groups like the White Stripes, The Libertines and Franz Ferdinand.

“The second book is an archive,” Slimane said. “It is really a rock diary and I cover about seven to eight years of rock photography since the beginning of that scene.” The three-volume tome accompanies the exhibition “Hedi Slimane_Musac,” which runs through Sept. 7 at Spain’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León.

Slimane has fostered close ties to the music world since he listened to David Bowie growing up. To that end, he spent Monday night DJing at a party he and Dazed & Confused threw at local club Super Deluxe. Slimane said his current favorite bands include These New Puritans and MGMT, but he’s waiting for the next big thing.

“I always think fashion is about the really precise moment,” he said. “It should never be too early or late. That’s why I always thought music is such an important medium because it definitely gives energy to fashion and codifies fashion and it’s been like that since forever, at least since the 1950s and the beginning of street culture,” he said. “If you disconnect from that I think you’re just missing the point.”