My hypothesis on why Hedi Slimane is ruining Céline.
If you already know what’s going on with Céline & Slimane and are only here for my thesis on why he is wrecking Philo’s Céline legacy – scroll down a few paragraphs.
When I back in January reported that Hedi Slimane would pick up the creative lead at Céline, it was with great excitement! First because I love his rock chic aesthetic but also because he has been gone from the fashion scene for a few years. However, choosing Slimane to Céline was quite a surprise. The rock-chic look of Hedi Slimane just seemed to clash with the loose and clean silhouettes of Phoebe Philo. Over her 10 year tenure had Philo manifested Céline as the go-to place for a sophisticated on-trend Philophines (Céline fans). Both aesthetics are very appealing, and I hoped that a best-of-both-worls middle way would emerge from this. That was not the case. Slimane brutally murdered Philo’s legacy.
You already knew that something was up, a few weeks before the show. Céline presented their new logo, in which the accent was removed. A move that stirred controversy already prior to the show. In Milan some even painted accents on Céline posters with what was presumably blood. Thats how serious the philophiles took this! Changing the logo was nothing new to Slimane. Back when he was introduced as creative lead for Saint Laurent he scratched off the ‘Yves’. This triggered the “No Saint Laurent without Yves” saying. However, Saint Laurent went to really prosper! I therefore, expect that LVMH has given Slimane card blanche to shape Céline as he sees fit.
The collection it self was rock chic, and could easily have been dubbed Saint Laurent SS17 (his last Saint Laurent collection was AW16). Instead it it was called Céline SS19 – ‘Paris La Nuit’. It contained tons of skinny suits which Slimane had great success with at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent. Further, a wide range of leather pants & jackets was presented underlining his rock n’ roll references. The color scheme was stereotypical Slimane, almost all black and white. This was pretty much only interrupted by colored sequin pieces. There was some creative doodling around with shoulder pieces, but otherwise this was all the essence of Slimane’s slim-cut aesthetics. It wasn’t a bad collection, but it was just soooo far from the cherished Céline universe, and didn’t present anything different from what he would have introduced at Saint Laurent!
Why Hedi Slimane is ruining Céline – My hypothesis
Basically I can come up with more or less 3 reasons to why Slimane is might be murdering the old Céline, and none of them has to do with butchering Céline for pleasure.
- Pay back at Kering group
First and foremost, when Slimane left Saint Laurent it resulted in a major feud and lawsuit regarding Slimane’s non-compete clause. There is a good chance that he is still upset and wants to make a move against Saint Laurent’s parent company; Kering Group (owns Gucci, Balenciaga and many others). What better revenge than letting yourself employ at the biggest competitor LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Dior among other). By enforcing the Slimane-esque design profile at Céline, there is a good chance that the Slimane fanboys who currently shops at Saint Laurent might seek out Céline instead. Ultimately resulting in lowering the sales of Saint Laurent and thus the profit of Kering Group.
- Don’t want to stand in the shadow of Philo.
While Slimane’s silhouette is very characteristic, so was Philo’s. There is some chance that the star designer had no intention of standing in the shadow of Philo by compromising his own design universe.
- He don’t want his own house
Slimane has previously announced that he has no intention of launching his own namesake brand, as he has no interest in loosing control of his own name. However, I’m sure that both LVMH, Kering Group and other conglomerates would gladly fund him a maison. Given his success at Saint Laurent, investors should be lined up for such. However, the next best thing would be to get Slimane in the fold, no matter the brand he would take over. In this case it just so happened to be Céline that had an open position.
What do you think?
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