Baie des Anges

Celine SS22: Hedi Slimane takes over the Nice seafront for the final part of his trilogy
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 3 December 2021

The only sound more satisfying than the soft crackle of a record player’s needle dropping onto vinyl is when that said vinyl is playing Vitamin C by Krautrock pioneers Can.

And so began Hedi Slimane’s Spring-Summer 2022 Celine runway film.

No lack of Vitamin C here, Slimane continued his French Riviera tour. As the sun beat down, a vast Celine-branded cruise ship cut through the Mediterranean Sea towards Nice’s Baie des Anges (Angel’s Bay) and the Promenade des Anglais (Walkway of the English) – a frequent holiday destination of Queen Victoria. On the promenade, the camera swoops past the Le Negresco, a palatial hotel that opened in 1913 where portraits of royalty hang alongside contemporary artworks by the likes of Dali, Moretti and Niki de Saint Phalle: it’s said that Romy Schneider and Alain Delon pursued their tumultuous love affair here. And on its distinguishable pink dome, the name ‘Celine’ replaced the hotel’s own typography for this very special occasion. 

The Le Negresco’s neo-classical design was echoed by Slimane’s SS22 offering – the third part of the designer’s cinematic womenswear trilogy that kickstarted with SS21 inside Monaco’s Stade Louis II stadium: a return to the designer’s arena-worthy physical shows is a tantalising thought.

Streamlined silhouettes spoke of ease, elegance and fierce personality as Slimane expanded his neo-bourgeois Celine vocabulary, swirling the mixture with notions of preppy, tomboy and minimalist couture. Amongst louche, ruffled shirting, monochrome singlets and wide-leg jeans, jackets defined each look: oversized blazers hung across shoulders, baggy hoodies under branded bombers (worn by K-pop star Lisa for her runway debut), collarless jackets, trench coats, tan leathers, perfectos and athletic nylon windbreakers. Like those artworks that decorate the walls of the Le Negresco, Slimane’s vision draws a lineage of luxury classicism; straw boaters mixed with trucker caps, lamé shorts with cropped cardigans and neat bouclé with baggy sports shorts. 

Sheer blouses, soft leather skirts and pitch-black tailoring spoke of evenings in the coastal city. Sneakers or kitten heels grounded each look, and bold, blacked-out sunglasses offered a new wave sensibility.

From day to night, clips of a girl wandering the beach by moonlight interspersed the film, her exquisitely embroidered dress held to the body like mermaid scales, in glittering conversation with the stars above her. And of those astronomical jewels, Nice’s astronomical observatory was another prominent architectural figure throughout the film. Perched at an altitude of 375M on the summit of Mount Gros, models circled its 24m rotating dome designed by celebrated engineer Gustave Eiffel to search for greater meaning.

Circling back to the soundtrack, like Can, Slimane’s brilliance is in the way he blends genres and beats to form his own hypnotic rhythm – tune in and hold the pace.    

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show