Browse all

Hedi Slimane's teen knights of Celine's FW21 show

Dark Academia meets 90s emo-punks

Hedi Slimane's teen knights of Celine's FW21 show Dark Academia meets 90s emo-punks

After the sunstroke of this summer's hyper decorated and psychedelic SS21 collection, as well as eager to encapsulate the elusive spirit of Tik Tok's e-boys, Hedi Slimane (almost) returned to form with Teen Knight Poem, Celine's show for the FW21 men's collection. With a video set between the spectacular spires and balconies of the Renaissance-era Château de Chambord, the largest of the Loire castles, Celine's show evoked a mood halfway between Dark Academia and the 90s emo, exploring the youthful aesthetic across time and through the lens of student clothing both in its more classic and traditional inflexions than in the more anarchic ones. Only at the end of the show, it's understood who is the "teen knight" to whom Slimane has dedicated the show when in the light of the torches the balaclavas with metal details of the collection sparkle like chainmail. Slimane was never political, on the contrary, but the martial drums that were the background to the parade, the knights with banners and the final procession with torches and balaclavas seem to evoke the myth of youth protests and create a parallel with that of the ancient chivalric orders. 

Although the collection is markedly modern, with plenty of puffer jackets, hoodies and sneakers, the fascination for the past and the Renaissance remain, so much so that the most bizarre accessory to make an appearance from the first look is a sixteenth-century doublet, coupled with a long hooded cape that looks like an academic toga. The historical suggestion, however, remains only a sort of ideal escape point, towards which an eclectic perspective is oriented that mixes Slimane's various suggestions with great balance – resulting in a perfectly calibrated collection. The first three men's collections of Celine designed by Slimane (who introduced menswear to the brand) had in fact focused on the past and nostalgia, while this summer's SS21 collection had abruptly changed course, heading towards a much more youthful territory and ending up appearing a little out of place. The balance that this collection has achieved between tradition and experimentalism is admirable and is able to bring together both the fans of the most classic Slimane and the most youthful audience and linked to the world of cubital logos and pop-punk suggestions. 

In all this, Slimane remains Slimane, so his collection remains predictable in the sense that he continues to re-think the same tailoring designs and silhouettes, leather jackets, Cuban-heeled boots to which we have long been accustomed. The intrinsic value of the collection, however, close in a certain sense to that of the new tailoring that Virgil Abloh has proposed at Louis Vuitton and Off-White, is to want to reunite the opposite worlds of tailoring suit and logo hoodie, biker jacket and a puffer jacket, ankle boot and sneaker, white and starched collars and chrome chains around the neck. A balance that is achieved both by limiting the exuberance of frills and colours (we are still trying to metabolize that sweater with the clown face and colourful windbreakers seen in the summer) and by bringing back to the centre a maniacally curated product (the coat of the final look was created in 1300 hours of work by 23 embroiderers) while the show and drama remain entrusted to styling, which transforms strict suits into punk uniforms using only layering and make-up, and reveals intricate decorative patterns on the most classic and unsuspected garments.