Celine Runway Report: Rock 'N' Roll androgyny takes over Paris Fashion Week
February 1, 2019, saw the appointment of Hedi Slimane as creative director to cult-giant, Celine, and with it an aesthetic shift of immeasurable amounts. That first collection was headily anticipated by editors and consumers alike with an inquisitive fever. The previous creative director —Pheobe Philo – was a hero. Her collections were of a legendary status. In contrast, Saint Laurent alum Slimane was antithetical to the minimalistic elegance of #OldCéline.
Hedi's designs were deeply rooted in a rock ‘n’ roll sexuality, oozing a suggestiveness more appropriate for the streets of Paris after dark then the restrained gentility of Philo’s relaxed tailoring that she was so celebrated for. His first runway outing was as defiantly contumacious as his most recent, and with the death of the French brands accented logo came the rebirth of the rebellious Slimane-led Celine, that we fell even more in love with on February 28, 2020.
The cooed show featured a whopping 48 menswear looks, all of which shouted in their various forms that the dark romance of ‘70s Paris was alive and very, very well. Considering he trained under Yves Saint Laurent himself in the menswear department, Hedi’s consideration for a dapper man is of no surprise, but the concept unisex designs which will be available in both male and female sizing felt like an honest exploration of gender-boundaries within fashion.
Shirts featured cascading ruffles of opaque chiffon that served as the collections continuum. Some were adorned with frilled cuffs that peeked out gold piped, velvet-lined, smoking jacket sleeves – other variations saw introductions of pussy-bow detailing in buttery-yellow hues. Coats were currency throughout, with the usual suspects of shearling, denim, leather and tweed all flirting with androgynous shapes and a tailored fit.
There was a John Lennon (post Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club) vibe that arose from the thin-as-pins models. Shaggy mane’s of hair brushed over metal-frame, circular sunglasses – the heavy addition of paisley print amplified the collections ‘60s quality.
The Les Invalides lights went down, the achingly-cool crowd moved onto the next show and the editors began to type their reports, of which the collective takeaway was clear. Hedi’s Celine is enrooted yet progressive, and distinctly his, but we very much like the clear direction in which this Paris Gare du Nord departed locomotive is confidently heading.