Strength in Numbers Hedi Slimane’s collection number six for Celine is all about the figures
Creating original music with various artists for his runway shows is a trademark of Hedi Slimane. And this season for his Celine Fall 2020 was no different in that regard. For the second time the men’s and women’s full collections were shown together on a runway; emphasis on full. The show was full of surprises – like the opening mechanical light structure which morphs into a design or shape at showtime. For Slimane’s collection number 6 it became Celine’s classic Sulky signature logo which debuted at the house 54 years in 1966 but quietly slipped into the background around the Phoebe years. This brand signifier will be a big push for the bags, belts, and jewelry bearing the crest that was born from Celine’s husband Richard Vipiana’s love for horseracing as a Sulky is a small carriage used in harness racing.
Also, a twist, the Celine Cesar Compression Project a limited-edition (200 total pieces) gold vermeil and silver jewelry abstract object collection that comes in its own pine box stamped with the artist’s signature, the intent being both jewelry and ‘objet d’art’. César, the artist and not the French movie awards which were coincidentally taking place tonight, made a name for himself in the late Fifties through the Seventies by welding, smoldering and compressing (with a large-scale hydraulic press) mainly found and recycled metal objects. It was in 1971 that the artist started collecting family heirloom jewelry and those with sentimental meanings and compressed them for friends to wear on leather cords that the limited edition was based on.
Elsewhere in jewelry news, more one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry were made from rock crystal, tiger’s eye, amethyst smoky quartz, pyrite, shungite, hematite, star mica, and barite. Between the new Sulky goods and these two jewelry initiatives, not to mention great shoes, cool hats even the Reptile fragrance, which is part of the brands Haute Parfumerie collection, there is a broader audience for the brand to push goods too.
But this was actually a ready-to-wear show though clearly ripe with its money-making accessories.
The first half of the show – there were over 110 looks – it seemed like the ladies were rocking a look circa 1982 (silk pussy-bow secretary dresses; preppy wool shorts and blazer ensembles; knickers, those seemingly forgotten-all-the-rage short pants, and even gauchos!; all worn with classic stack heel knee-hi boots, lots of capes and beaver fur coats swirled around these separates to complete the look) while the guys seemed plucked out of 1971 just like the jewelry.
To dissect the latter, one needs not to look much further than two fashion icons; Mick Jagger and billionaire basketball fan and fashion show addict, Jim Goldstein. Or the designer himself. Starting at the ground up the men wore high-heel pointy-toed boots and skinny, skinny pants. He paired them with silk ruffle blouses – his take on a new romanticism – and topped off the look with a key fabric of the season velvet as band jackets, tailcoats, and tuxedo-style jackets. There were plenty of other archetypal cool guy jackets such as shrunken bombers, leather bikers, wool peacoats, and western-style blazers, and tweed overcoats. Scarves and wide-brimmed hats worn on the guys and gals were tussled in for effect throughout.
As the song “Get Out of My Head” by French songwriter Sofia Bolt nee Amelie Rousseaux which chronicled her self-discovery process that unraveled via surfing after moving from Paris to Los Angeles (sound familiar?) played on repeat and the looks kept coming in no particular theme order, one wondered where the boys ended and the girls began but that was Slimane’s intent. It’s 2020 baby and unisex is where it’s at.
Whatever incarnation of something he makes, you can be sure it is best in class when it comes to quality, fit and execution. Slimane gets knocked a bit for his styling approach and not moving on. But it’s a subtle progression that one needs to view carefully. These bourgeoisie ladies and rock and roll bad boys are not exactly the same as before; the designer is far too nuanced for that. And as long as those sales figures head in the right direction who cares if you’ve seen it before?