Celine's Portrait Series curated by Hedi Slimane

Hedi Slimane’s Digital “Portrait” Series for Celine

Hedi Slimane’s curation of Art and Music is a lesson for Design Houses

Celine creative director Hedi Slimane is releasing a series of short films via Instagram, highlighting visual artists and musicians who have been personally curated by Slimane himself. The series functions as a follow-up to Celine’s collaboration with subscription-based streaming service MUBI, which facilitated free access to 10 classic feature films also curated by Slimane. These initiatives elicit a compelling dialogue about the role of creative directors at the helm of macro house like Celine, and the multi-faceted approach that is required. Product creation is only a portion of the thought leadership that is needed to successfully steer these mammoth Maisons, and Slimane’s proactive approach to artisanal curation of all things Celine brilliantly extends beyond the insular world of fashion.

In order to fully inhabit a high-profile leadership role at a large design house, creatives such as Slimane must think of themselves in a broader context. Slimane achieves this in an ingenious way by confidently curating artwork and performances by other influencers, who have inspired him as an apex influencer. The resulting short films are unique collaborations that function as mutual self-promotions, as well as small works of video art in their own right. Slimane is not just curating these artists and musicians; he is capturing them in repeatable moments of time, doing what they do best…creating sounds and visuals through which they can connect with viewers directly, in the same way these artists connected with Slimane himself. This meta-process creates a subconscious feeling of triangulation between Slimane, his followers, and the highlighted artists in a way that is visceral, escapist, and at times emotionally moving. Furthermore, these easily-digestible delights are arriving at a time that has been characterized by self-isolation, which is precisely when Slimane’s audience probably needs diversions the most.

Other house creatives and fashion marketers would be wise to take note: this is how to lead a big-name brand with impact, and check off all the boxes in a unique and satisfying way. Content creation? Check. Thought leadership? Check. Collaboration? Check. Effortless cool? Check. Even that essential category of fantasy wish-fulfillment is indirectly yet undeniably checked off the list, because what Celine Instagram follower hasn’t (at some point) harbored a secret fantasy of being a rock-star or a famous artist?

It seems important to take a moment and acknowledge the artists and musicians who are the real stars behind this digital campaign. In alphabetical order they are: James Bagshaw, Josh Homme, Joan Jett, Shawn Kuruneru, Lucia and the Best Boys, Carlos Valencia, plus Alexandra Savoir and the Oracle Sisters (not pictured). Without their vulnerable creative moments so sensitively captured, this digital campaign would not exist…or would have taken a very different form indeed.

Interestingly, the artists and musicians curated by Slimane are a mix of established icons like Joan Jett combined with relative newcomers like Lucia and the Best Boys. Whether revisiting a classic performer or discovering someone new, Slimane’s curations provide moments of pure creativity and inspiration. Therefore take a few moments to let it all soak in, and then perhaps reflect on the best ways to share those things that provide personal inspiration in your own life. If you can figure out how to share them in a way that is both personal and universal, then your followers will thank you and revere you for it. Good luck!