The portrait – stripped back to its bare essentials, with Dylan holding his guitar in a studio wearing a leather jacket (Celine current collection, obviously) and sunglasses – conveys the same electric, yet effortlessly cool, charisma that made Dylan such an icon.
The two shots highlight the two sides of Dylan’s history as a musician – a studio shot holding an acoustic guitar, a nod to his origins as a folk and blues artist. And one against a wooden wall, with an electric guitar that references that moment in 1965 when Dylan went electric. A moment of rebellion and refusal to conform that was, despite its banality in hindsight, was considered so controversial he was booed by even his most ardent fans in the audience.
And if there is one thing Slimane understands, it’s non-conformity. The French designer has turned Celine around from its original Philo-French chic aesthetic into a sex appeal-laden brand that oozes underground clout, much to the shock of old fans and delight of new ones.
The other thing about Slimane is that he is willing and ready to pay homage to those artists who, while perhaps not always as well known as Dylan, are willing to break the rules. Whether that’s in music or film, Slimane has made it his agenda to work with those whose legacy in their creative arena will live long after they might leave the earth.
This has seen Celine work with some of the greatest talents in history. Before Bob Dylan, there was Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. Prior to that, it was Jean-Luc Godard, Jack White and and new French director Suzanne Lindon.
What also links these visionaries is the effortless sense of cool and style they each possess. It’s something that can’t be taught or bought and Slimane – ever since he burst onto the fashion scene back in the mid-’90s when he became ready-to-wear director for Saint Laurent (then still Yves Saint Laurent).