Hedi Slimane's 50th Birthday Party at Paris's Le Palace
Paris’s legendary Le Palace nightclub was lit up this weekend for Hedi Slimane’s surprise 50th birthday party. Thrown by the designer’s friends, the event was an all-night concert featuring performances by Slimane’s musician pals and a birthday cake in the shape of the venue’s iconic facade. To the designer, the location holds a special, sentimental place: Not only did he frequent Le Palace in his youth, but it’s served as a constant reference throughout his career for its singular place in Paris’s musical and clubbing history.
Constructed within a 17th-century building once used as a theater, the club opened as Le Palace in 1977 under the ownership of Fabrice Emaer with a spectacular party that saw Grace Jones singing “La Vie en Rose” on a pink Harley-Davidson motorcycle, while waitresses wearing Thierry Mugler–designed uniforms milled around handing out coupes of Champagne. Le Palace’s crowd was curated by the legendary Edwige Belmore, and on any given night you could bump shoulders with Roland Barthes or Prince or Serge Gainsbourg or François Mitterrand. “It was grand, chic, elegant, decadent, novo, punk de salon—insane by today’s standards. . . . The essence of life was brewing in that club, from the ultimately famous to the completely unknown discovering each other. Artists would find inspiration, designers would find ideas or new faces and styles, anyone could find love, for a night or a lifetime,” said Belmore in 2008.
This being a party to celebrate Hedi Slimane, the guest list was a modern-day take on Le Palace’s crowd, with models and musicians mixing with fashion folk and Slimane’s dear friends. Those looking for clues about his Céline debut this fall will find much to pore over and dissect in the images—see Grace Hartzel’s moto gloves and minidress combo or Slimane’s own appreciated leather jacket—though that’d be missing the point of the whole fete. One of fashion’s most influential—and private—designers is giving us a peek into his world. Curate your own world, and parties, accordingly.