• Text Alex James Taylor
  • 28th September 2019

Night rush

There’s a palpable beat when a vision starts to take shape. Add to that the adrenaline-rush execution of a Hedi Slimane show and you’re on to a winner. The designer’s Celine SS20 womenswear reveal was all this and more. 

Where last season saw the designer cement his blueprint for the French brand via a collection that spun Céline Vipiana’s original 70s vision in tune his own, catering to a new Parisian bourgeoisie uprising – or indeed, those who wish to play by their rules – last night in Paris, that plan hit next level, with feeling.

Inside the Les Invalides custom-made venue Slimane has made his permanent Celine residency, a pyramid installation morphed in sunrise hues, backdropped by a million glittering lights that resembled a clear night sky. As the girls started to emerge, you got the feeling that this was an hour they knew well. Living for the night, morning and well beyond.

To the sound of LA-based trio Automatic – an original track, Calling It, produced by Froth’s Joo-Joo Ashworth – the drama of the intro found its pace within a collection formed around a mid-70s silhouette, complete with Jane Birken curls, aviators and a determined scowl – squint and you could almost see a Gauloises balancing between models lips. And this era-reference is no coincidence, it was a time when Celine’s RTW stores were the go-to for de rigueur Parisian women, who were queuing around the boulevard.

Boogie Nights here we come. Blending bourgeois with bohémienne, there was a more relaxed feel to six months previous: we got denim kick-flares, knee-high suede boots, Converse (Hedi style), turban-wrapped scarves, Afghan coats, pussy-bow shirts, prairie dresses and gold lamé that shimmered as much as the man-made stars above. Culottes made a much-encouraged encore from last season and we were given additional variations of those immaculately-cut blazers Slimane does with such panache. You could totally imagine Anita Pallenberg circa 72, ‘exiled’ in paradise at Nellcôte, in each look, or indeed Keef. When models walked past, Slimane’s new Celine fragrance trailed behind, worn by each model as the ultimate final flourish (emergency vial worn around the neck).

As this season’s cast stepped out for their finale – with utter purpose – the rush was real. And, as comes standard with every Slimane show, the hangover lasts until next season’s return.