Designer

What does Celine look like under Hedi Slimane?

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The iconoclastic designer marked his return to fashion after a two-year hiatus as he presented his debut collection for Parisian fashion house, Celine.

This season, Hedi Slimane is perhaps the designer that has had to shoulder the most expectation.

His appointment at Celine was a highly contentious one, and part of a bigger LVMH reshuffle that saw a host of designers including Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones and Kris Van Assche finding themselves in new roles.

Assigning Hedi Slimane to Celine was a statement of intent from LVMH’s CEO, Bernard Arnault.

Back in January he said that he hoped that Slimane would help to triple profits at the label.

Slimane’s job is only partially to replace the former creative director of the house, Phoebe Philo.

He is to become the head of a bigger, more commercial Celine, and is overseeing the creation of not only womenswear, but also menswear, couture, and fragrances.

Hedi Slimane’s appointment at Celine made fiscal sense—no designer has had more of an effect on how men dress over the last decade.

Slimane defied a decade of baggy, louche clothing in favour of the super-skinny silhouette he is now famous for.

To this day men still wear skinny jeans because of Slimane’s collections from over a decade ago.

His Parisienne club kid aesthetic is arguably the most defining look in the last decade of menswear.

Remember, Karl Lagerfeld lost six and a half stone so that he could fit into Slimane’s menswear offerings.

But that’s not what Celine needed.

Celine is a house that has become synonymous with clothes made for independent and professional women.

In her decade at the reins, former Creative Director, Phoebe Philo curated a for-women-by-women model that turned Celine into the label with perhaps the most loyal client base in fashion.

Slimane’s declaration that he would be introducing menswear was a very exciting one.

But perhaps what the menswear crowd were truly hoping for was simply a Phoebe Philo-designed men’s collection.

Philo’s clothes had a penchant for the avant-garde, a sensibility that has become a pillar of the brand.

It was the no-nonsense, functional, parred-back clothes, with influences from men’s tailoring, that garnered Celine’s notoriously loyal fanbase.

Slimane’s collection made it clear that maintaining that fan base may not be as important to him as bringing in the same swathes of people that flocked to his commercially lucrative Dior Homme and Saint Laurent collections.

Entitled, ‘Paris La Nuit’, the show was a direct continuation of the aesthetic that Slimane honed in the 2000’s.

https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2019-menswear/celine

Retro club attire, exaggerated shoulders, sequins, and lots of leather recreated the world that we’ve missed from fashion week over the last couple of years; but it’s not the world we expected to see at Celine.

A large proportion of the womenswear offering was men’s tailoring, which so-called ‘Philophiles’ may not accept as an alternative for the womenswear of the last decade.

Celine has been famed for being a womenswear brand accessible to men (see Kanye west performing at Coachella in a Spring 2011 shirt, as well as Pharrell’s love affair with the brand).

But now the pendulum seems to have swung slightly in the other direction.

Fans of Philo will perhaps flock to other female designers, with the most exciting alternative being Claire Wight-Keller’s critically lauded collection for Givenchy this season.

 

 

Politically this seasons show was a confusing fashion moment.

Slimane’s Mink Coat. (image credit Vogue Mag)

Slimane’s choice to continue the white-and-skinny aesthetic that he is famed for suggests that politically he has not evolved.

The decision not to send a model of colour down the runway for a staggering 30 looks (and to only include six models of colour in a 96-look collection) was not one that we can get ourselves behind.

Full equality is still not present on runways, but in the seasons since Slimane left, the fashion world has seen baby steps in the right direction.

Contrary to this, Slimane seems to have largely picked up where he left off, showcasing only a parade of white Parisienne beauties.

The fashion world has also seen a sweeping rejection of fur with Burberry, amongst others, announcing that they will no longer use the highly controversial material.

Slimane’s flagrant rejection of this came in the form of what appeared to be a striped mink coat featured in this collection.

Ultimately, the clothes on show were what has made Hedi Slimane one of the most focused-on designers of the last two decades.

They were flattering, wearable and highly covetable.

Bernard Arnault will be thrilled, so long as the clothes bring in the Slimane fans in the same way his previous offerings have.

It’s just a shame to have seen Celine go this way.

 

 

Words by Kieran Ahuja

Edited by Holly Harper

Holly and Eleanor are your fashion editors

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