Swinging and shimmering

Celine FW24: Hedi Slimane’s portrait of Richard Avedon’s 60s
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 12 March 2024

Hedi Slimane’s FW24 Celine womenswear film started with the Arc de Triomphe – a monument of significant meaning for the fashion House. The story goes that in 1971, Celine Vipiana found herself on Place de L’Etoile after her car broke down. Looking upwards, she noticed the chain link pattern encircling the Arc de Triomphe – she would soon after adapt this motif as the Maison’s monogram; later redesigned with a modernist twist by Slimane upon his arrival in 2018.

This season was a tribute to the Triomphe monogram, and also to legendary photographer Richard Avedon, a dear friend and mentor of Slimane’s who sadly passed away in 2004.

And so Slimane rewound to the 60s, an era of liberation and empowerment epitomised by Avedon’s portraiture of the decade.

This season’s original soundtrack, La Folia (‘The Madness’), an instrumental composition by multi-instrumentalist Mélanie Chédeville co-produced by Rico the Wizard, spiralled and shimmered in conjunction with the film’s setting: the geometric rotunda of Paris’ famous La Salle Pleyel concert hall, surrounded by angular mirrors that reflected back at each other.

Like the Triomphe monogram, sixties silhouettes and symbols were re-energised through Slimane’s contemporary codes: “La Collection De L’Arc de Triomphe looks back at the 60s, the golden age of Celine, recapturing the origins of the House” – the show notes read.

The ‘youthquake’ decade’s waves continue to wash across today’s culture, and here, those reverberations appeared as A-line shift dresses, classic tailored coordinated looks, and miniskirts – decorated with frills, oversized pussy-bows, polka dots and artistic necklines. You could absolutely imagine these shapes framed by lens of Avedon.

As always with Slimane, outerwear was lush – herringbone car coats, leopard print numbers, slick leather cuts and hooded capes. Worn throughout, sculptural felt headwear formed paper boy-baseball cap hybrids, and 60s sci-fi conjured thick-rim ‘TV Sunglasses’ and space boots. In their hands, models swung the House’s new Nino Bag, Terence Bag and Garance Bag

The collection featured 55 looks, 20 of which were couture – those couture elements played out across meticulous feather, jewel and beaded embellishments that swung in step.

Woven throughout the film were scenes of a music box with a spinning gold statuette wearing one of the collection’s tailored looks – the only statue trophy you should have on your mantlepiece – and black and white scenes of models sat at dressing tables. These scenes of pre-night preparation no doubt nodded to the announcement that the film also marks the birth of Celine Beauté, the House’s first-ever cosmetics line.

Launching this Autumn, Celine Beauté “comes to enrich the cultural roots, promoting a French idea of femininity and allure, distilled over the last five years by Hedi Slimane in his new institutional codes for the Maison Celine.” This season’s models exclusively wore La Peau Nue (‘bare skin’) lipstick, one of fifteen shades in the Le Rouge Celine collection set to be launched next year.

London culture has long fed through Slimane’s work, and King’s Road’s iconic gamines were here in spirit, blending with Celine’s own vision of 60s bourgeois femininity. An irresistible mix of sexuality, sophistication, subculture and high society – Slimane finds the through-lines and outlines them in his singular savoir-faire.

The show was closed by two monochrome fluffy, sculptural couture looks that encased the body – and head in one case – like giant pom poms. Google Richard Avedon’s 1965 cover of Harper’s Bazaar featuring Jean Shrimpton wearing a round, pink helmet designed by American milliner, and you’ll see the 60s reflection for yourself.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Celine WOMENS-FALL-WINTER-24