Celine: 'Entente Cordiale' tailoring
The latest runway show in the career of Hedi Slimane opened with the latest giant contraption, adding another profession to the hyper influential designer; that of set designer. This Sunday night show marked the final show of 15 days of runway action that included London, Florence, Milan and Paris.
His latest collection for Celine opened with a large red-curtained cube, which advanced slowly on the immense catwalk to reveal a bizarre light-encrusted space module, inside of which lounged a dandified, red-haired rock star.
He emerged attired in a slim-line, iridescent, three-piece suit, narrow tie, shades and red carnation – John Steed-meets-Guy Peellaert backstage at a The Kinks concert in St Germain.
It sent out the strongest signal; this would be a fashionable Entente Cordiale collection, riffing on British tailoring and iconography but always on French terms. Meaning a decent chunk of Serge Gainsbourg; from his floppy hair to his love of mixing denim and chalk-stripe.
However, backstage Slimane cautioned FashionNetwork.com: "There was not meant to be any narrative story. More a purer statement about tailoring, silhouette and attitude."
Slimane’s key message – flat-front, flared jeans are back with a vengeance; whether in denim, pinstripe or chalk-stripe, ideally worn with elongated lizard boots.
They can be paired with, well, anything: golf club six-button blazers; denim jackets with white piping; fire engine red baseball jackets; louche Beggars Banquet jackets; white matinée idol tuxes; camouflage trenches; and even a white cricket cardigan. Not exactly a French game, n’est-ce pas?
And, just when it was getting a little predictable, Slimane cuts a tobacco-hued micro chalk-stripe rocker banker suit with a scalpel.
Presented to a fantastic original soundtrack by Scottish Celtic rockers Bodega, inside a mammoth custom-made tent behind Napoleon’s tomb, this was very much a hit show and collection. Hundreds of fans begged to gain access to the standing section; others screamed like Bay City Rollers fans when scruffy French heartthrob Romain Duris appeared.
You can tell everything is going very well chez Celine from the front row. There, amid family and executives, sat Europe’s richest man, the patron of the LVMH conglomerate that owns Celine, a beaming Bernard Arnault, taking runway photos with his mobile phone like a teenager at his first catwalk event.
There was arguably a little too much merchandise in this collection and not quite enough magic. We have seen greater collections by Slimane. Yet, when one considers the whole season, Slimane’s Celine somehow remains the biggest game in the menswear business. No wonder Arnault seemed so happy with his phone.
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