RIP the accented é - and bonne nuit to the celebrated brand's perennially minimalist and chic aesthetic.
It was possibly the most highly anticipated show on the entire fashion month calendar - and it sure generated a lot of opinion pieces. The old adage "all press is good press" rings true on this occasion, but surely none of it is music to the ears of Céline's die hard fans of yore.
The fashion house that answered the prayers of women searching for understated, classic, and reliable luxury staples is now leaning in another direction. Notably, that of Saint Laurent.
For his debut at Paris Fashion Week, newly instated Creative Director Hedi Slimane dropped the accent aigu and upped the ante. Gone were the fluid, languid silhouettes and in their place was an array of glam rock minis, razor-sharp skinny suits, tiny dresses with voluminous bishop sleeves, and hemlines short enough to raise a few eyebrows.
The aesthetic that Philophiles, as loyal customers of the brand's former design doyenne Phoebe Philo are known, have come to rely on has been put out to pasture. Women looked to Philo for clothes that armored them elegantly, yet powerfully, for the world. During her tenure, subtle became the new sexy - yet the word 'subtle' doesn't seem to exist in Slimane's vocabulary.
While Philo made Stan Smith trainers and blanket coats covetable and put iconic octogenarian writer Joan Didion in her ad campaigns, Slimane is more inclined to dance with emaciated hedonistic rockers and Hollywood brats. Indeed, his model casting caused ire - both male and females were unanimously size 00, and there were only six non-white models.
Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for Celine SS19 pic.twitter.com/YCKlbSYhoM— FOXES Magazine (@FOXES_Magazine) September 28, 2018
In ushering in a new era for the brand, Slimane unveiled his menswear collection: a first for the house. "The entire wardrobe worn by the male models is unisex, and therefore will also be available for women," the show notes read. While the skinny jeans, metallic bombers, embossed leather, and printed blazers were far from what Philophiles usually clamored for, it was a start. Slimane did cut his teeth at Dior Homme, after all.
Celine's foray into menswear is evidence that Slimane's appointment was a financially motivated move by the brand's owner, LVMH. When Slimane departed Saint Laurent in 2016 after a four year stint, sales had increased up more than 150% to a cool $1.39 billion (€1.19bn).
Behold the new CELINE woman pic.twitter.com/oaSLlmOt9K— bryanboy (@bryanboy) September 28, 2018
LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault stated earlier this year that Celine is projected to reach "at least $2.3 billion to $3.4 billion, and perhaps more, within five years" under the direction of Slimane.
Between Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, and Mark Ronson - Slimane's regular fan club - stepping out to support his debut, and a collection that bore a striking resemblance to his swan song collection for Saint Laurent, it seemed like the designer isn't ready to change his tune anytime soon. He might be a one trick pony, but he still could be the cash cow Celine needs.
CELINE SS19 Goes Off!📸 pic.twitter.com/CbCCihh1Zz— Outlander (@StreetFashion01) September 28, 2018
As for those Philophiles? They weren't biting their tongue.
saint laurent fw17// celine ss19— amber the alchemist (@amberjfinney) September 28, 2018
THE LAZY pic.twitter.com/BgwenY71K9
My last note on Celine because I have more important things to dedicate my rage to - what a day to present such a tone-deaf, ignorant, belligerent, narcissistic show.— Lou Stoppard (@LouStoppard) September 28, 2018
the celine show is just another callous indignity women have had to suffer this week— Audrey Gelman (@audreygelman) September 28, 2018
Watching the Céline show was the equivalent to watching a live murder— Samantha (@samathasteeles) September 28, 2018
The Celine woman was fresh, intelligent, and sophisticated. She was a boss. I don’t who that girl is that Heidi just showed but I don’t want to know her!— MOM (@MelReneeStyles) September 28, 2018
Me trying to explain the differences between Saint Laurent and the Celine by Hedi Slimane 😅 pic.twitter.com/8MneoS1EGF— MDolcy (@RickOwensHeir) September 28, 2018
Will be interesting to see whether Saint Laurent fans stay loyal to Saint Laurent now that Celine is ALSO Saint Laurent.— Alyssa Vingan Klein (@alyssavingan) September 28, 2018