Celine SS23 was a Hedi Slimane masterclass in structure, and when to go off-beat
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 27 June 2022

Twenty years ago, Hedi Slimane presented his Dior Homme FW02 collection, Reflexion – his second for the house – in an unfinished Palais de Tokyo. Yet to reopen, its exquisite art-deco architecture mirroring the shifting tailoring that stepped across the runway – here, new blueprints were being written both structurally and sartorially.

Two decades later, Slimane returned to the Palais de Tokyo, this time with Celine. The season also marked the designer’s return to a physical format following a series of cinematic runway films. A Slimane show is best enjoyed sans screen – floor shaking, adrenaline rushing. 

Titled Dysfunctional Bauhaus, the soundtrack for the evening was an original composition by the terrific New York band Gustaf, Design. Championed by the likes of James Chance and Martin Rev; the only recommendations you need. The band’s pulsating anti-rhythms were turned up to their loudest in order to compete with the screaming K-pop fans outside who had come to catch a glimpse of Blackpink’s Lisa and BTS’ V, who were both in attendance alongside the likes of Earl Cave, Cumgirl8, Kevin Parker, Curtis Harding, Suzanne Lindon, Oracle Sisters, Deadletter (who took over our Instagram for the occasion), and a slew of other talent. 

Distorting the principled Bauhaus principles of shape and colour into something distinctly off-beat, a new algorithm was born. The first model stepped out in his regalia (perhaps a nod to that Dior FW02 collection’s military-inspired looks), a boxy blazer dripping with exquisite embellishment. Pearls hung from shoulders as crystals gathered into fireworks and lettering, mirroring the model’s ignorant-style tattooed legs beneath a pair of slinky shorts. A uniform of shimmering intent, these couture embellishments continued across cropped tailcoats and oversized leather jackets. One coat got its own unique treatment, completely studded to create an incredible glistening reptile effect – later on, we got an actual gold crocodile-embossed tailored blazer with pointed lapels. Slimane is a master of control and balance, and when to use them, so these elaborate garments were paired with minimalist codes: monochrome shirting, straight leather pants, tapered denim and pointed buckle boots – mostly black, but one red pair made us think of Vincent Gallo in Buffalo ‘66

An all-red leather look with pitch-black sunglasses must’ve been a nod to the aforementioned Martin Rev, while a sequinned tunic was pure glam. A white tracksuit cut like a jumpsuit with lightning decoration and turned-up collar left us all shook up, as leather chaps worn over denim were cowboy kink. Americana references ran throughout, in tassels, metal-tipped belts, raw denim and a recurring stars and stripes motif. Above the runway hung Alex Calder-esque golden mirrored mobiles designed by Slimane, which moved in dialogue with the collection’s jewellery: tiled necklaces that hung across the torso like beautiful armour.

As always, a number of artist collaborations rooted the collection – especially poignant here in relation to Palais de Tokyo’s standing as Europe’s largest centre for contemporary creation, “the living place of today’s artists, and a platform for emerging talents from around the world,” read the show notes. Young Mexican artist Renata Peterson’s satirical takes on pop culture informed the show’s title and a cropped tee with black serigraphy that read ‘I Am The Boy That Can Enjoy Invisibility’. Meanwhile, the freeform drawings of the late, internationally acclaimed Swiss artist David Weiss were translated as a ‘Paranoia City’ rhinestone leather blouson, a Swarovski crystal dog brooch and a graphic wave crashing across a denim Baja. Inspired by jazz and psychedelia, Weiss’ mastery was in mixing absurdity with sincerity, a duality that surged through the collection: structure lends a beat, find your own rhythm. 

GALLERYCatwalk images from Celine SPRING-SUMMER-2023