I really tried not to be too negative about Hedi Slimane’s debut at Celine. I knew that it would never be as perfect as Phoebe Philo’s Céline. With her impact, her vision and her understanding of women, she’s irreplaceable at this maison. But to my own regret, I had a silly thought that maybe, maybe, two years of fashion hiatus lets a designer… develop? Progress? But no. Hedi Slimane stubbornly thinks that his aesthetic is it, wherever he designs, whether at Dior Homme, at Saint Laurent or at Celine. The debut collection had been called Paris La Nuit and was intended to be all about youth and late night party-ing. How predictable. The former Céline woman / client / fan dropped a tear the minute the first look walked down the runway – a polka-dot mini-dress with puffy sleeves. What’s worse, it seems to me that Hedi still considers today’s youth to dream about looking pale, unhealthily skinny and, mhh, dull? The model selection triggers another question: what about the diversity the model industry fights for lately? Slimane seems not to bother. Also, please note that in a pre-show interview, he clearly stated he’s solely interested in the young, and he will design for the young. He kept the promise. So we’ve got ageism, too! And yes, I know that elder models are still a rarity on the catwalks, but at least most brands don’t narrow down their target age in such a rude, discriminatory way. Let everyone dress the way they want and feel like – don’t exclude.
Slimane’s collection isn’t thought-provoking in a good way at all. I find it shallow and monotonous. Just clothes that literally look like his YSL bits: slim and grungy. To be honest, I even don’t find any sense in listing the women’s clothes he presented. The menswear part – completely new to Celine – is said to be unisex. We’re talking about very tightly fitted tuxedos, that yes, might be very well-tailored, but hardly empower anyone. Also, I smell some vague talk about gender fluidity, that desperately tries to make this collection even slightly relevant. It’s truly painful that LVMH, who is reportedly so assured of financial success coming from Hedi’s dictatorship (it’s not a typo), wants to ‘improve’ Celine this way. One word: frustrating. Conclusions: please, give Slimane his own namesake label, where his followers can go, and stay. Phoebe, I know it was you who left, but please consider coming back to us as soon as possible. There are French houses that need your help. There are people, who need you and love you!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.