Fashion
  • Text Alex James Taylor
  • Photography Sara Cimino
  • 23rd June 2019

Glitter in their eyes

Hedi Slimane’s third menswear show for Celine started with a throbbing bassline and a curtain raise. A plush red velvet curtain (think: the Red Room in Twin Peaks) that rose into the ceiling to reveal a spiral network of lights, which unfolded as the opening model stepped out and Name Escape by New York band Bodega fizzed out the speakers with ultimate purpose.

As every avid music fan knows, it’s all about the beat. Slimane certainly knows this: a constant pulse feeds across each collection and he riffs from that kick. Here, through music and collection, a New York influence was fine-tuned. Specifically 70s NYC. Here, we moved through slim leather teddy jackets, Americana varsity bombers, leopard sweaters, velour sports jackets, dusters and louche, revere collar shirts – open at the neck (if you’ve watched The Deuce, you’ll get the aesthetic). Loosening the stitches somewhat, each look was paired with kick-flare jeans or trousers, boots, loafers or trainers, aviators and an eyebrow-skimming fringe. We also got striped overalls, snakeskin tour jackets, camo prints and an opening grey three-piece suit that sparkled like it had been paved with glitter. A gold lamé jacket offered a flash of glam, while wide brim fedoras, blazers and silk neckties expanded the bougoise Parisian tropes Slimane fed into his FW19 womenswear offering. 

There were glimpses of New York’s sonic trailblazers throughout; Tom Verlaine, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Joey Ramone, David Johansen and Exile on Main St-era Mick & Keith – on a brief visit from Nellcôte. You could absolutely imagine these characters sliding down Park Avenue South and into Max’s Kansas City. And you absolutely wanted to be in on the action.

Prior to the show, a series of moving images on the Celine Instagram hinted at this season’s collaboration with multimedia artist David Kramer. Having grown up in 70s NYC, Kramer’s works subvert the era’s lifestyle adverts, parodying their chirpy slogans with his own tongue-in-cheek takes on modern life, such as ‘Yesterday was better’, ‘Downhill from here’ and ‘I have nostalgia for things I probably have never known’ – all plucked from his own musings or “day to day banter… on the streets of New York City” – according to the show release. Within the collection, these slogans were in bold caps across tees. Kramer was also celebrated in this season’s invite – a white hardbook book containing the artist’s work. The common denominator between Kramer and Bodega? Both operate on sarcasm and sardonic humour to prod at modern life’s absurdities. Different medium, same process – and one that clearly appeals to Slimane’s wit.

At the finale, a curtain close; and another Slimane performance that’ll continue to race through the mind long after credits roll.