Wipeout Beat

Celine Homme FW23: an electrified, leather-clad ode to visionary NYC band Suicide
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 11 February 2023

Last night Hedi Slimane returned home: to the city he was born; to the venue where he found his beat: Le Palace – Paris’ answer to Studio 54, a place of cultural mythology, where eminent names would let loose and get down. Stories state that Karl Lagerfeld once arrived in a gondola, and Anna Piaggi turned up wearing a fish platter on her head. French painter Gérard Garouste decorated the downstairs, Thierry Mugler designed staff uniforms, Gary Numan’s new wave beats turned the dancefloor into a pogo frenzy, and, on the opening night after impresario Fabrice Emaer reopened the building in 1978, Grace Jones sang La Vie en Rose stradling a Harley Davidson, backdropped by roses and dry ice. Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Serge Gainsbourg, Yves Saint Laurent, Loulou de la Falaise, Prince, Jerry Hall – icons danced, and cultural history was written. Last night, Jack White sat next to Lisa, next to Blake Richardson, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Birkin, Gaspard Augé, Earl Cave, Sacha Got, Wiz Khalifa, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty with his beloved husky Zeus. For the Celine Homme FW23 show – titled Paris Syndrome – Hedi Slimane celebrated Le Palace by bringing his own crowd to the venue’s hallowed walls.

On this night, the famous ‘Le Palace’ neon sign glowed alongside a ‘Celine’ counterpart, and an electric current fizzed through the building, sparking the show’s soundtrack into action: an extended version of Girl by visionary New York band Suicide (formed of the late, great Alan Vega, and Martin Rev), co-produced by Jared Artaud of modern Brooklyn outfit, The Vacant Lots. The track is taken from Suicide’s incendiary debut eponymous record; released in 1977 at the height of the punk movement, the album’s noir electro beats shook from the vinyl grooves with brooding, skin-melting tension. Live, the band was wild: as Rev threw down industrial synth hooks, Vega would throw himself around the stage, lunge at his audience and brandish a length of motorcycle chain. Suicide were the band punk wanted to be. “Everybody came in to see Suicide to be entertained,” Vega once said, “And all we did was give them back the street, in all its glory.” Coinciding with the Celine Homme show, Slimane released a series of portraits of Martin Rev as part of his ongoing Portrait of a Musician series.

As Rev’s score reverberated around the building, his synonymous style landed on the runway. All black leather ensembles, with boxy perfecto jackets and tight leather trousers. Pitch black sunglasses always, as Rev preaches. Like feral Elvises, the leathers continued to come, some studded all over like punk chainmail, some accented with red panels and epaulettes reminiscent of a certain Carlos Barat who sat front row (more on him later), and others were tasselled with metallic fringing. Leather trenches, bombers and blousons. It’s a shame Alan Vega couldn’t be there to witness the show, he would’ve loved the spectacle.

Shapes softened, yet never unstructured as Slimane reflected on Suicide’s impact on today’s nouvelle vague, those rediscovering the electro-rock bands of the 2000s and prior. Oversized coats cut from cashmere or English tweeds recreated on a traditional loom alongside modern interpretations of traditional suiting mirrored the uniforms of contemporary bands across major cities, while also echoing the indie narrative of Slimane’s FW23 womenswear show in LA. Here in Paris, womenswear looks punctuated the collection, matching the lads in leathers, boots, embroidery, trompe l’oeil bow knits imitating pussy-bow shirting, and oversized blazers. Drama was outlined in thick animal print shearling cashmere coats, rhinestone knitwear and an all-pink leather ensemble as each model left a trail of Celine’s ‘Nightclubbing’ fragrance. The final look was a razor-sharp overcoat that shimmered like a deadly mirrorball. “Disco, fast action, my dreams“, Alan Vega once wrote – those words seem apt here.

Never content with simply putting on a runway show, Slimane creates visceral spatiotemporal worlds. Letting Le Palace do what it does best, post-show saw live sets from The Murder Capital, Lime Garden, Fat Dog, Club Eat, Sexy Damion, Dese and Comatosed, alongside a very special performance by The Libertines (the dress code read: Le Palace). As guests enjoyed pretzels and lollipops in the shape of Celine’s Triomphe motif, Pete and Carl sang into the same mic: “Did you see the stylish kids in the riot“, almost in response to the crowd in front of them.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Celine MENS-FALL-WINTER-23