When the news that after Phoebe Philo (46) left Céline (there will always be an accent for me), Hedi Slimane (50) would be taking over the brand, nobody was expecting him to follow on Philo’s footsteps and continue her legacy. Everyone (including myself) was anxious to see what Slimane would bring to the table as a very peculiar choice, particularly because his style differed so much from Céline’s, having just come from Yves Saint Laurent. But that doesn’t mean the fashion industry and enthusiasts were expecting to be let down, like what inevitably happened.
Céline was known for being feminine, minimalistic, and for the working woman who didn’t have to think much of what to wear to work because the answer was: Céline! But not a Saint Laurent knockoff. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate Hedi, I was devastated when he left YSL, his creations were just what YSL was about, but I was also devastated with what he did to Céline. The question is; maybe what he did at YSL was all he knew how to do and maybe, just maybe, he should have stayed there.
It was not just taking out an accent to make it more “international” how a reporter said in an article for The Guardian, but it was taking out the whole essence of a brand to make it more profitable and make it his own. The Céline or, to say it the new way, Celine first show by Slimane was just like what we saw season after season at YSL. You can’t fool us, Hedi, you might change the colour but we aren’t going to fall for it. Well, part of us, because it seems that it actually sold more than the previous collections. But, are sales that important? Are sales the only important thing? Can we just forget about the art of fashion and a Maison’s legacy just because it sold more?
Céline by Philo was all about empowering women and Hedi could have at least tried to do that but instead he chose to play it safe and show the same black and white little black dresses on unhealthy and unattainable thin models that, if put side by side even the person with the most knowledge of fashion would mistake as Saint Laurent.
The most antecipated show of the SS19 RTW was mostly a deception and nobody was afraid to say it, but what Slimane himself said made it even more controversial: he blamed the poor reviews on homophobia in an interview with TMC channel’s "5 Minutes de Mode"
"For some in America, I also have the poor taste of being a man who is succeeding a woman. You could read into that a subtext of latent homophobia that is quite surprising. Is a man drawing women’s collections an issue?” (we all know that no, Hedi, in fact most of the most famous and successful fashion designers are men, not only that but gay men) "At the end of the day, all of this is unexpected publicity for this collection. We didn’t expect as much. Above all, it crystallizes a very French form of anti-conformism and freedom of tone at Celine."
The instagram account @diet_prada even made comparison that proves the lack of creativity of Hedi regarding Céline, if you don’t believe it take a look at it yourself.
Slimane’s Céline could have been something approved by both costumers and critics if only he had tried but unfortunately we will have to only remember a time when Céline was truly Céline.
- By Ana Luisa Infante Malachias.