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This is what Celine by Hedi Slimane will look like

Waiting for the debut show on September 28th

This is what Celine by Hedi Slimane will look like  Waiting for the debut show on September 28th

Three two one. The countdown has almost expired. Celine is about to show her new course to the world under the guidance of Hedi Slimane, who was appointed in January 2018 as the company's creative director. The appointment live from Paris Fashion Week is Friday, September 28th at 8.30 pm, but the questions about how the designer of Abruzzo origins will revolutionize the label are multiplying more and more: the dry aesthetics and rock'n roll of Hedi will sweep away the effortless style of Phoebe Philo? How will press and fans of the brand react to the first collection? An interview given a few days ago by Slimane to the journalist Laurence Benaïm for Le Figaro helps us to retrace the first significant changes implemented by the creator and to hypothesize his next steps.

Slimane's action plan 

The slogan of the last adventure of Hedi Slimane, who returns to work two years after the dismissal from Saint Laurent, is tabula rasa. His arrival marks the beginning of a new era for Celine who, to underline it, has suspended the e-commerce site until the presentation of the first collection. In the same way all the contents of the Instagram account, with photos published by the previous artistic director Phoebe Philo, disappeared, making room for a video teaser composed of the prolonged framing of a sort of golden curtain that introduces the new logo of the label: name "CELINE" in black capital letters on a white background, deprived of the acute accent on the "e".

The second project to appear on the LVMH brand profile is a series of black and white portraits of androgynous girls and boys, who, with their minimalist aesthetic and underground rock mood, are not only a clear example of style that has decreed the success of Hedi Slimane, but they are very reminiscent of his work for Saint Laurent. Although still, unfortunately, did not give us any preview on clothing that we would see on the catwalk, the designer of Italian origin has allayed the curiosity in part by showing two bags. The first model, in black leather, baptized "16" in reference to the address of the new headquarters of the brand in rue Vivienne 16 in Paris, is popped up on the arm of Lady Gaga, while the second is the monogram "C", a shoulder bag quilted with the closure similar to that used by the fashion house in the 70s.

"My Celine will be different, in respect of the esprit français."

Slimane clearly tells the journalist Laurence Benaïm and, if the main novelty is the introduction of a men's line, a couture and a perfume, with the addition of ateliers appointed for the purpose inside the headquarters; the major changes concern the commercial strategy. No more traditional collections, but pop-up shops, droplets and small capsules along with a selection of timeless garments, such as jeans and tailored coats. All this also involves a retail restyling plan and great expectations by LVMH that hopes to increase the company's turnover from "1 billion euros to at least 2 billion euros if not 3 billion, or maybe more, by five years". And on a creative level what will happen? For now we only know that the fashion shows will be less traditional.

The revolution starts from the logo

It seems that when a designer arrives in an iconic company with a long tradition, the first thing to do is rebranding, that is to modify the original logo, thus marking the official beginning of a new era. That's what happened with Riccardo Tisci from Burberry and that's what Slimane has always done, turning first "Christian Dior monsieur" into "Dior Homme", YSL in "Saint Laurent Paris" then and now, depriving Celine of his accent. The choice to elide this graphic sign on the "e", but also to narrow the spacing between the letters, giving the whole minimal proportions, is inspired by the original, historical version of the logo, dating back to the '60s. As happened at the time, alongside the new "Celine", on some items of clothing and on the packaging will appear the words "Paris".

"It’s in no way about marking my territory, quite the contrary,” said the designer, adding that it was his way of “putting the church back at the center of the village. It’s orthodoxy, quite simply"- clarifies the re-design of the new creative director at Le Figaro - "The word without accent rooted in the history of the maison, in its foundation, to return to an architectural and graphic alignment essential for the project".

The new era of Celine

How will Celine change under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane? A substantial clue will be offered to us by Friday's fashion show, but the real answer will only give it time. Nevertheless we cannot stop making hypotheses about the new era of the maison, a brand that, until now, was deeply linked to the style vision of Phoebe Philo. What will remain of his effortless chic minimalism with a strong impact, made of iconic pieces such as cocoon coats, wide-cut ankle-length trousers, petticoats, V-pullovers, sculpted heels, maxi bags and furry slippers? Will any traces remain or will it be totally erased by its successor? Le Figaro also asks for it.

"Our styles are very identifiable and very different." - Slimane points out - "We don’t enter a fashion house to imitate our predecessor, much less to take over the essence of their work, their codes and elements of language". This does not mean that the identity of the maison must be completely revised, because, as man specifies, "The goal is not to go the opposite way of their work. It would be a misinterpretation".

So, probably, Hedi's move that, since his days at Dior Homme, has controlled every creative aspect of the brand, from the creations to the images of the advertising campaign, will be to apply its history, culture and language to the brand's heritage, rediscovering the craftsmanship of the atelier of the fashion house, "a savoir-faire tied to a mental state, a way of working, the ability to immediately understand a model: a particular feeling that can only be found in Paris". A distinctive feature of the former Saint Laurent that we will surely find in its new proposals? Collaborations with artists and musicians. For YSL she worked with Catherine Deneuve, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Kim Gordon, Josh Homme or Grimes; the artist Daniel Arsham designed the dressing rooms for Dior Homme; while the new Celine bag was launched on Instagram by Lady Gaga.

What we know about the debut

Few hours before the presentation of the SS19 collection by Celine by Hedi Slimane, we will briefly review what we know.

- The location of the show, announced, like every news so far, on Instagram with a photo of a metal structure under the dome of the building, will be the Hôtel des Invalides, a historic French museum complex that also houses Napoleon's tomb , where the designer had already set a men's fashion show in Saint Laurent.

- The invitation is a special gift. It is a coffret of seven volumes dedicated to 14 among iconic cafés and clubs in Paris frequented and loved by the new creative director of Celine.

The appointment, during the Paris Fashion Week, Friday 28 September at 8.30 pm.