The show everyone was talking about; Céline was one of the most anticipated fashion shows at Paris Fashion Week, after changes in the brand with Hedi Slimane as new creative director. Once known for its sleek feminine silhouettes and tonal colour palette, audiences were indeed shocked, and some disappointed with the new logo and collection.
Céline… oops. I mean Celine — received wide critical reaction after british fashion designer Pheobe Philo announced she would be stepping down, and french designer Hedi Slimane would be the new creative chief of the fashion house. This was an exciting, suspenseful, and pivotal moment for the brand. Why? perhaps because Philo established the creative foundation for the brand’s visuals, with it’s feminine aura and minimale chic looks. It became a staple look for the chic and simple modern professional woman.
After dropping the accented é, changing the logo font, and changing the brand’s social media visuals to solely black and white images, Slimane immediately started receiving backlash as new creative director. Although he received critique, Slimane’s talents should not be overlooked, with his prior creative chief position at Saint Laurent from 2012 to 2016, and much before that as creative chief at Dior Homme from 2000 to 2007.
Hedi Slimane is heavily recognized for his counter-culture, rock n’ roll darker aesthetics and infusion, influenced by music and youth subcultures. Upon the release of his new collection with Celine, Slimane received criticism all over the media — with many agreeing that Slimane was a creative genius, but not for the brand that gained a following for its feminine chic aura.
Many users were commenting on Celine’s instagram handle @celine, claiming it was simply Slimane continuing his same old vision of Saint Laurent, and that nothing was innovative or something we hadn’t seen before. Some even called it a sad moment in fashion history, a lazy attempt at rebranding with a narrow vision — with the same traditional size 00 white models, lacking diversity.
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One article from a fashion journalist even placed the point of view of how the collection reeked of toxic masculinity, taking away the aura of the brand’s once known vision of a clear minimalist feminine aesthetic that praised the serenity of women. But this one took the cake; someone even created a tribute to Pheobe’s time at Céline with an instagram page holding Céline archives, the page literally called @oldceline. The page gained an impressive following of 39,000 amongst the new Celine collection release at Paris Fashion Week.
On the other hand, Hedi has been widely praised and acclaimed by many for the influential changes he’s had at other fashion houses — such as transforming the Saint Laurent brand, increasing sales by 150% between 2012 and 2016. However, although he may be deemed a creative genius for some, it’s obvious many believe his vision just wasn’t the right fit for preserving the brand and fulfilling the high expectations of it’s original following audience. Only time will tell and show the evolution of the Celine brand, and its success or downfall. This indeed is a controversial turn of events in the fashion world, and is definitely the mark of a new era in the Celine brand.
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