So picture it now – you’re the new designer at the luxury power house, Céline, and you’re dying to make an impression. It’s your first ever Fashion Week with the brand, and all you want is to set those tongues wagging.
...Well that, Hedi Slimane certainly did! Taking a huge leap away from former designer Phoebe Philo’s minimalist style, he wanted to be daring and innovative, but honestly, it wasn’t worth the risk.
Slimane’s SS19 show was everything previous seasons weren’t – and not in a good way. It was tacky, and no amount of skin-tight short dresses made it feminine. Crotch-skimming dresses, overpowering embellishments and garish leopard prints made it look like an elementary school art project gone wrong. He claims it was inspired by Parisian nightlife, but there was nothing Parisian about it at all – nothing oozed sophistication or glamour. Then comes the point that it wasn’t adventurous – having reshaped Dior and Saint Laurent in the past, SS19 Céline bared a huge resemblance to his previous works with the two other French fashion brands. It almost seems like he didn’t want a challenge, but instead looked towards previous collections. We’re all for expressing our identity, but let’s be realistic – there was nothing we hadn’t seen before! There’s a clear distinction between having your own vision and just being lazy.
When we saw crotch-skimming dresses on skinny white models, we realized that Slimane is very much stuck in the past – as well as just re-creating his previous designs, he is not looking into the fashion future. We’re in 2018, people! Diversity is little by little showing its face in the industry, and having skinny white rich kids making up 91% of his muses is so passé, don’t you think? And the women’s collection was just awful – but what’s more awful than that, is that people will probably buy into it because it’s Céline - oh oops, Celine *raises eyebrows*, it’s Hedi Slimane, and it’s a conversational point. The thing is, people will like it because it’s fashion and they want to be wearing the latest pieces, but following fashion for fashion’s sake is just absurd. There is no rule saying you have to follow what designers are “instructing” you to wear, because how did you dress before you got sucked into that realm?
Clearly, this collection lacks substance – can you honestly tell me the story behind this? And this collection also clearly lacks a feminine perspective – and this is not because it’s been designed by a man, Karl Lagerfeld seems to get it right! It’s just objectively because he doesn’t understand the female customer at Céline and what she intends to search for. He’s been so focused on overshadowing Philo’s previous designs that he has quite obviously lost the plot. His collection isn’t everyday wear, but neither is it glamorous. It’s a hot mess. It isn’t a celebration of the luxury fashion house, but a celebration of himself, a pat on the back if you will – it’s all very narcissistic.
If the whole point was to get his name everywhere, he certainly achieved it. He faced a lot of criticism following his show, and critics were left perplexed over how he tried to give Céline an image overhaul – but not even by respecting its roots. If he wanted it to be revolutionary, he failed. It would be revolutionary if we hadn’t seen it before, but we have. It had no attitude, no substance and no initiative – to sum it all up, it wasn’t in the slightest bit rebellious.