The internet is all of a tizzy this week, over the first glimpse into Hedi Slimane’s Céline – or, should we say, Celine.
In a move to create even more buzz around the highly anticipated first show after the departure of landmark designer Phoebe Philo, Céline has dropped the accent from its logo, along with all traces of past collections from its Instagram account, leaving only its new logo, a cryptic series of videos of gold lamé curtains and brief explanations of its new typeface.
While there is little to be learned about the new collection from Celine’s mysterious social media posts, there are some things we can pick up on. Gold lamé, black and white photography and a heavily sequinned jacket on the shaggy haired model all point to one thing – grungy disco glamour. This, paired with the painfully obvious erasure of Phoebe Philo’s history from the houses’ social media, means that Celine has dropped the minimalist-chic aesthetic that it’s known for in favour of frivolous glitz.
Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of frivolous glitz – the sexy, Versace-esque silhouette of a glamorous woman will never go out of fashion. But during Phoebe Philo’s ten years at Céline, she offered an alternative to our preconceptions of what a powerful woman looks like. She showed that we didn’t have to sport cinched-in waists, heels and harsh lines to convey our presence. Instead, a woman could look pared-back, refined and authoritative in crisp white shirts, comfortable linens, silk trousers; comfort and practicality, without compromise on style and tailoring. Céline offered this vision to the masses, and inspired an entire movement – normcore and the more recent menocore trends were undoubtedly rooted in Celine’s influence.
But now, as it drops its accent, Celine seems to be moving more towards glitter, rock ‘n’ roll and tight leather. It’s moving away from cultivated minimalism towards the glow of fast fashion trends. As fashion has become increasingly impacted by influencer culture, our Instagram feeds have become saturated with Kardashian-style sexiness. The Kardashians undoubtedly have a stronghold in pop culture, but surely luxury design houses are on a higher plane? Is Celine now simply going to give consumers want they see on their Instagram feed, rather than setting fresh, innovative trends?
We are already spoiled for choice when it comes to glitzy, maximalist fashion. The likes of Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana show how you can go over-the-top with prints, embellishments and logos, while Balmain and Versace have kept their tradition of power shoulders and mini skirts very much alive. As we trickle down to the fast fashion of online stores like Fashion Nova in the U.S, or Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo on this side of the water, have built empires on bodycon dresses and thigh high boots.
What we really need is a polished influence. What we need is Céline, before Celine.