All designers have their signature style and there’s comfort and joy in that. If you find a designer you love then you want them to give you more of the same, but also to keep pushing and challenging you to move things on. And you move with them, because you trust them. It’s like me with Isabel Marant; last week I wouldn’t have thought a bleached out over-sized denim bomber that looks suspiciously like one I made my mum buy me from a market in 1985 was a good idea. Now I kind of want one. By SS19 I’ll be wearing one.
So, I’m guessing if you’re a fan of Hedi Slimane you would have got exactly what you wanted from his first outing as chief commander of all things brand and creative at the newly accent-less Celine (Slimane has seen fit to drop the acute accent above the e to mark a new era). Indeed if you had been a patron of his while he was at Saint Laurent (he saw fit to drop the Yves while he was there), you probably already own a fair amount of it, so that’s a bonus. SS19 will save you a few pounds then.
Though you’ll have to lose a few pounds too (if you didn’t do so already to get into the YSL looks) because you are still going to have to be very thin to wear his clothes, if we’re to judge by the models chosen to embody his aesthetic (and the length of the dresses). There was a depressing lack of diversity too. As the fashion writer and curator Lou Stoppard pointed out on Twitter, only nine of the 96 models in the Celine show were non-white; for all you fact fans that’s a pretty miserable 9.375%. And hardly representative of a modern society in which these clothes are meant to be worn.
Also some brief stats on Celine. By my count 87 of the 96 models were white. And it took 30 exits before an Asian model appeared and a fun fun 34 exits before a black model appeared. Innovative! A veritable hive of modernity and youth-focused design. *screams into pillow*
— Lou Stoppard (@LouStoppard) September 29, 2018
And, what of the clothes? As I said, a lot them you will have seen before from when Slimane headed up Saint Laurent and @diet_prada, the Instagram account that likes to call out copying on the catwalk has helpfully detailed all those looks that bear a striking resemblance to those that have gone before. But I guess you can’t plagiarise yourself and am also guessing that, while LVMH may not have explicitly asked Slimane to trot out what he did for Kering’s YSL, they knew what they were getting. And he honed his signature look while previously at the group, for Dior Homme, anyway.
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In last night's @celine show , Hedi Slimane picks right back up where he left off at @ysl . TBH, did we expect anything else? Hedi is a branding virtuoso with a focused, but narrow repertoire of retro club kid looks. With the likes of Anthony Vaccarello and Alexandre Vauthier churning out more elevated mega-watt 80s-inspired collections in recent years, Slimane's now look high-street by comparison. A few sharply tailored XXL shouldered looks stole the show, but most glaring was the fact that it took 30 exits to see a model of color. While he has a way of unearthing our hidden desires from time to time (all the financial reports from his tenure at Saint Laurent will attest to that), the white youth obsession is something we definitely won't be buying into lol. LVMH is banking on the $limane dollars, but apparently not the creativity. We were hopeful and prepared to be surprised, but seeing the new season thumbnail on the Vogue Runway app stacked ahead of all of Phoebe's glorious collections for Céline reminds us to always remain cynical. • #celine #hedislimane #lvmh #saintlaurent #ysl #anthonyvaccarello #yvessaintlaurent #phoebephilo #retro #glam #club #clubkid #vintage #80s #newwave #rocknroll #dejavu #sequins #ruffles #minidress #ootd #wiwt #pfw #parisfashionweek #dietprada
But here’s the thing. I didn’t hate them. I didn’t hate what Slimane did at Saint Laurent either (he’s known as being fashion’s most polarising designer, but I have always managed to like some of what he does and dislike some of what he does in equal measure, while others seem to love it all or hate it all – with a passion). However amid the depressingly short sequinned mini-dresses on depressingly thin models, there were some beautiful clothes that grown up women, and even some die hard Phoebe Philo (the former creative director of the house) fans, might like.
The oversized blazers and tux jackets were divine, and in some cases as long as the dresses they covered, and the high waisted, cropped leg trousers were very chic and very wearable (on a wide age and size range), and looked lovely paired with sheer blouses. Also notable were the simply lovely leather coats and over-sized leather bombers (though if we have another heatwave next spring they may not get many outings).
There was a whiff of the 1980s in these and other looks throughout the collection, which is set to be the key decade to reference for SS19. The puffball hems (and statement shoulders) are further evidence of this and the high street will have no doubt picked up on those by now as Riccardo Tisci also made a case for them (albeit in a more wearable way) at Burberry in what was the other joint-equal most hotly anticipated show the of the season. So we can expect to see a lot of those in the Spring collections.
Will we see lots of super skinny girls in barely there mini dresses though? I’m not so sure. The high street and, and online brands like ASOS, seem so much more in tune with popular culture and the psyche of the young, and are all moving away from this almost oppressive vision of women’s fashion in the post #MeToo era. And there are other luxury designers who seem to be somewhat less tone deaf when it comes to ensuring their collections and their brand visions reflect the zeitgeist.
Look at Victoria Beckham, who seems to have spotted a gap in the market while Philo is off the scene for now, who opened her London Fashion Week show with a 47-year-old model, one Stella Tennant. And a host of other older models found themselves busier than usual this season including Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Carolyn Murphy and Georgina Grenville, who are all in their 40s.
It would have been nice to have seen a bit more inclusivity from Slimane but he has a singular, uncompromising vision and he made it clear he wouldn’t be bound by what had gone before him at Celine, and neither, it seems will he be bound by what is going on in the wider world. And perhaps there-in lies the secret of his success, for he does indeed inspire great commercial success for the brands he oversees. But maybe, just maybe, as fashion collectively turns its back on what my esteemed colleague Sandra Halliday disparagingly refers to as the “skinny tart” look, perhaps Slimane should consider doing the same?