Hedi Slimane, the new artistic, creative and image director of Celine, launched his first ready-to-wear collection for spring/summer 2019. The title of his show: “Paris la Nuit”.
In the show notes, Slimane simply states that it is a “Journal Nocturne de la Jeunesse Parisienne”.
A simple statement, perhaps, announcing that his designer-cum-photographer’s eye is turned towards Parisian youth.
But it also is a strong statement, as it posits this collection generations away from the loyal consumer base of Phoebe Philo, Celine's previous creative director.
The controversy over this collection has been widely reported, revolving more or less around the question of what a creative director should (or shouldn't) be allowed to bring to an established brand's table.
For Slimane, it seems to be dealer's choice.
LVMH wanted the Saint Laurent revolutionary, the commercial genius, the millennial whisperer: Hedi Slimane.
And so, Slimane is what Celine shall receive, rebrand-ready.
The 80s Parisian nightlife theme pervades the runway. The high-contrast black-and-white palette is a staple in the Slimane repertoire: skinny suits, cropped smoking pants, bombers, blazers and leather jackets in all shades of black.
But there are exceptions to the monochrome, featuring in shimmering hand-embroidered super-mini dresses in gold and emerald green.
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CELINE SHOW MUSIC ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK “RUNWAY” BY LA FEMME WRITTEN, COMPOSED, RECORDED AND MIXED BY MARLON MAGNEE, SACHA GOT AND GRACE HARTZEL. ⠀⠀⠀ THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE TRACK THAT WAS TO BECOME “RUNWAY” WAS COMPOSED BY LA FEMME IN LOS ANGELES IN DECEMBER 2017. HEDI HEARD THE TRACK PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND WHILST TAKING PHOTOS OF MARLON AND SACHA AT THEIR HOME IN ECHO PARK. ⠀⠀⠀ IN JANUARY 2018, SEVERAL DAYS AFTER STARTING AT CELINE, HEDI ASKED LA FEMME, WHOM HE HAS BEEN CLOSE TO FOR MANY YEARS, TO COMPOSE A 20 MINUTE VERSION OF THE TRACK DESCRIBING THE FASHION INDUSTRY. ⠀⠀⠀ GRACE HARTZEL AND MARLON MAGNEE RELATE THE EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE OF BEING A MODEL, COMMENTING ON THE SOMETIMES ABSURD ELEMENTS AND LANGUAGE USED IN SHOWS AND PHOTOSHOOTS. ⠀⠀⠀ #CELINEBYHEDISLIMANE
A post shared by CELINE (@celine) on Sep 28, 2018 at 2:31pm PDT
We experience déjà vu with the 90s heroin-chic models exposing their ribs with cut-out silhouettes and their twiggy legs with punk-rock boots cut off at the ankle.
In fact, Slimane doesn't deviate far from the signature tailoring that he pioneered as creative director for Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, respectively.
Both boys and girls wear variants of the skinny suit; both articulations can be worn by women. They will be sold in women's sizes, a nod to female consumers demanding his suits at Dior Homme back in 2000.
You know what they say: if it ain't broke …
Tight, young and thigh-gap shorts are what Slimane is touting this season, perhaps the recipe to appeal to the ever-growing Gen Z consumer in luxury retail.
The social-media sensation that he created in September – one of his first points as director to delete all semblance of the old Celine – could also be considered a stroke of genius in targeted marketing.
The opening look of “Paris la Nuit” features a polka-dot party dress with a giant bow bodice, almost like we are accepting this re-branded gift of youth. The model also wears the veiled cocktail hat that features on all the female models.
The work of Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay appears in the collection. His comic-book collages, artwork and onomatopoeic paintings are transposed in embroidery, print or patches on dresses, jackets and accessories.
Indeed, some of the accessories may have more success with Philo's old consumer base.
The C-flap bag, with the chain inspired by 70s design, is offered in Marclay print or coloured calfskin leather.
The Celine 16 bag – already seen on Lady Gaga's Instagram back in August – is a 60s-inspired bag that is offered in satinated or grained calfskin leather, crocodile or lizard.