“There are pages that are as unforgettable to me as a framed painting or photograph,” Taguchi says while she picks up the June 2002 issue. The cover is a portrait of Hedi Slimane wearing a slim tailored jacket, looking as if he is confronting the camera. When you flip to the opening page, there is a Dior Homme fashion page consisting of 11 portraits that Hedi himself did - from the styling of clothes, shooting to selecting the photos. The only model Hedi casted was Tiago, a young man he met in Brazil.

“Even after 20 years, I can’t stop staring at the monochrome photo of Tiago wearing Dior Homme, it still has an appealing charm to it. It is the perfect beauty to me. I can’t help but gaze at how beautiful it is. No matter how much time passes, people will never forget something they once felt was incredibly beautiful. I feel the greatest joy and pride to see the photos taken by Hedi in the magazine I edited.”

Taguchi adds, “perhaps there is a reader of OR NOT, who like me, also never forgot the photo and still remembers it,” while she muffles her regret of not being able to reprint the page, due to copyright infringement. She then shared with us, an episode from this issue that reminded us about Hedi’s creativity, which could not have been imagined through the magazine.

“Kei Nihongi, the art director of MR - who deeply understood and sympathized with the aesthetics of Hedi and Dior Homme, was in charge of the composition of the photo spreads, the choice of font for headlines and credits, the balance of the series, to the layout, which was the perfect fit for Hedi’s explicit direction on how to express the Dior Homme world. For a creator or when creating a magazine, ‘who you work with’ is one of the most important things. To perfect his creation, Hedi knew it was necessary to continue working with the Japanese pr whom he trusted since his Yves Saint Laurent days. Right after I submitted all the Hedi pages, I received a call from that pr.

The call was a request to ask if it was still possible to replace the full body portrait of Hedi Slimane that appeared on page 33 - the last page of the feature. “Knowing Hedi, and how he is aware of the editorial department procedures, I’m sure he was confused about whether or not to make the photo replacement request at all. Of course, replacing a photo that has already been submitted to the editorial department would inconvenience everyone and would even stop the printing process. So, normally it would be refused with, ‘It’s not possible due to the lack of time’. But, I answered, ‘No problem!’”

“The original photo of Hedi that I submitted was facing forward and standing rather straight. However, the replacement photo we received later was vaguely off-center with a slightly curved left leg and inner thigh silhouette. The majority would see the difference as trivial and possibly unremarkable. But to Hedi’s sense of aesthetics, it is an absolute difference. When I saw the replacement photo, I was able to sense Hedi’s sensitive and introverted side expressed through the angle of his toes. Hedi’s meticulous attention to such ‘minor differences’ resonates with exactly what I have consistently done for MR. Hedi’s high level of expression through every detail showed his sincere dedication to the MR magazine, so rather than it being a nuisance, I remember feeling extremely happy.”

The faint but definite expression revealed in appearances is also evident in the fashion pages. “The beauty unleashed only during that short period of time between an adult and a boy was what he had, and it seemed as if he was willingly trying to possess Hedi’s aesthetics which he expressed beautifully,” Taguchi explains about Tiago. Hedi explained that the moment Tiago dressed in Dior Homme clothes, he immediately becomes a figure of intense attraction with “grace, nobility, and an unusual spiritual sensuality”. This was written in the Q&A interview in the last page of the feature.

“(Tiago is) Very thoughtful and has a natural charm, along with the most beautiful skin, which is an absolute must. The essentials (when choosing a model) are consistent for me, and I have found many young models on the streets or whenever I am out. I seem to have been incredibly lucky in regard to this.”

Toshiko Taguchi

Born in 1949. Chief editor of MR High Fashion and High Fashion, now a freelance editor.