Yesterday, fashion’s second most anticipated show took place, Hedi Slimane’s debut for Céline. Ups, first mistake. He took the «accent aigu» (acute accent) away and Céline is now Celine. The looks, personally speaking, were very much Saint Laurent at his time, as if he just continued where he left off. For me absolutely boring.
The Celine S/S 2019 show invite
I loved when he started at Saint Laurent and went crazy for his looks. But after some seasons, I had enough in my closet of his rock’n roll chic. Of course, the collection for Celine is good, very ’80s and sexy. It is also ok to stay to true to yourself. But as a designer, I find it important to go with time and to value a brand’s heritage. Hedi just repeated what he did for Dior and Saint Laurent. Instead of taking the Yves away, he went for the accent aigu. Instead of applying his aesthetics to the French Maison in a new creative way, he just did copy and paste. Boring.
Copy and paste
To be honest, for LVMH it would have been the smartest move to give Hedi Slimane his own label.
Céline was founded in 1945 by Céline Vipiana and her husband, Richard, as one of the first luxury brands in the industry to make a made-to-measure children’s shoe business. The couple opened a first boutique at 52 rue Malte in Paris. The brand was recognised by its logo, the red elephant created by Raymont Peynet.
In 1960, the brand decided to change its positioning by focusing its business on a ready-to-wear fashion brand for women with a sportswear approach. Henceforth, the brand offered a range of leather goods such as bags, loafers, gloves and clothes. The trench became the iconic product of the house. In 1973, Céline, who remained at the helmet until 1997, redesigned its logo with the intertwined “C” Sulky canvas, linked to the Arc-de-Triomphe, which appeared as a symbol for Parisians. At that time, Céline began its expansion in the world with the opening of various boutiques in Monte Carlo, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lausanne, Toronto and Beverly Hills.
In 1987, Bernard Arnault decided to buy into Céline’s capital. However, it was only in 1996 that the brand was integrated into the LVMH group for 2.7 billion French francs ($540 million). LVMH propelled the brand to fame with the opening of a boutique at 36 avenue Montaigne in Paris.
American fashion designer Michael Kors was named the first ever women’s ready-to-wear designer and creative director for Céline in 1997. During his tenure at Céline, Kors brought modern femininity with a luxurious spirit. In 2004, he left the fashion luxury house to focus his career on his own brand. In 2005, Italian designer Roberto Menichetti was named creative director. A year later, Croatian designer Ivana Omazic directed the design studio. Omazic was a former consultant for the brand and previously worked with Romeo Gigli, Prada, Jil Sander and Miu Miu. Omazic designed for Céline until 2008, after further disappointments for the brand.
Phoebe Philo’s Céline changed your wardrobe (even if you didn’t realise it)… she managed to predict what you want six months before you know you do.
On September 4, 2008, the fashion portal Women’s Wear Daily announced that Bernard Arnault, president of LVMH, had appointed Phoebe Philo as the new creative director of Céline. Her tenure began in October 2008, and she presented her first ready-to-wear collection for S/S 2010 at Paris Fashion Week. Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive officer of LVMH’s fashion division, said that recruiting Philo was giving her the opportunity to express her vision. Philo brought a new touch to the brand creating functional clothes with a focus on materials and tailoring. In 2009, Vogue Magazine defined her style as the “cool minimal trend”. Philo studied at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London. Prior to Céline, Philo held the position of Design Director at Chloé. In 2010, she received the Designer of the Year award from British Fashion Council. In 2011, she was awarded International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Both prizes were awarded for her work at Céline.
We all wanted it! Céline’s Boston bag – first seen on the S/S 2010 runway.
In December 2017, following increasing rumors in the press, Philo announced her departure from Céline after finishing the F/W 2018 collection, which is to presented in March of that same year. Thanking her team, Phoebe Philo stated “Working with Céline has been an exceptional experience for me these last 10 years. I am grateful to have worked with an incredibly talented and committed team and I would like to thank everyone along the way who has been part of the collaborations and conversations…it’s been amazing.”
On January 21, 2018, LVMH announced the appointment of Hedi Slimane as Artistic, Creative and Image Director, set to join the house on February 1. He is to direct all Céline collections, extending the brand’s offering with the launch of men’s fashion, couture and fragrances.
Great news for me, I can dress next summer in my former Saint Laurent pieces and will look like wearing new Celine. Money saved for other things…
Photos: © Céline, © Sandra Bauknecht