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Chanel squelches speculation about Hedi Slimane, menswear

Mandatory Credit: Photo by WWD/REX/Shutterstock (8470559fc) Models on the catwalk Chanel show, Runwa
A look at Chanel’s ready-to-wear fall 2017 collection.
(WWD/REX/Shutterstock / WWD/REX/Shutterstock)

Karl Lagerfeld, once dubbed “Hedi’s Slim Man” by WWD, is not about to welcome his designing friend into the house that Gabrielle Chanel founded.

In a statement issued exclusively to WWD, Chanel squelched ongoing speculation that it was plotting a move into men’s wear with Hedi Slimane.

“The house of Chanel has no projects with Hedi Slimane,” the company said, adding, “Chanel doesn’t work on the launch of a Chanel men’s wear collection.”

Ever since Slimane exited Saint Laurent in April 2016 at the expiration of his initial four-year contract as creative and image director, rumors have persisted that the designer could wind up at Chanel, given his long and close friendship with Lagerfeld and Lagerfeld’s penchant for Slimane’s rock ‘n’ roll-tinged designs.

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In 2000 and 2001, Lagerfeld famously shed nearly 90 pounds after a low-fat regime that he followed primarily to be able to shimmy into the pencil-thin suits Slimane was designing for Dior Homme.

“It’s all about the clothes,” Lagerfeld told WWD at the time.

Chanel’s longtime couturier has since maintained a close rapport with Slimane, also an accomplished photographer like him.

Lagerfeld commissioned Slimane to shoot his portrait for the cover of the holiday issue of French Vogue that he guest-edited. And while he remains loyal to Dior Homme, Lagerfeld continues to wear jackets Slimane creates expressly for him with his name on the label.

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Lagerfeld occasionally features men’s wear on the Chanel runway and has two signature men’s lines, but he has repeatedly said he’s more interested in wearing men’s clothes than designing them.

A men’s wear maverick who took up women’s wear during his explosive tenure at Saint Laurent, Slimane has yet to indicate his next career move and has resumed his pre-YSL career as a commercial and art photographer. He has also been embroiled in legal proceedings against YSL’s parent Kering over non-competition obligations and other issues.

Meanwhile, Lagerfeld is in the midst of designing Chanel’s cruise collection, to be paraded in Paris on May 3. He is also the designer of fur and ready-to-wear at Fendi.

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