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It is confirmed. The rumors were true: Hedi Slimane becomes the new Artistic Director of Celine. As always with Hedi Slimane: this is big news! Two years after leaving Yves Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane arrives at the head of creation of the luxury brand Celine. His mission will be to launch the masculine fashion and fragrances.  He will officially arrive in February and we can imagine that there will be a lot of changes. He is 49 years old and last time he worked for LVMH, he revolutionized masculine fashion at Dior Homme (2000 to 2007). His last job was Artistic Director for Yves Saint Laurent from 2012 and 2016.

Hedi Slimane, The Ultimate Creative Director

Hedi Slimane was never such a rebel that he would dare going to a more alternative parcours. He always dreamed to work for well known-brands and his versatility as an artist, fashion designer and photographer makes him consider different angles in terms of products and activities.
Hedi Slimane started his career already in this perspective. At the age of 24 he assisted Jacques Picart on his project around the Louis Vuitton monogram 100th anniversary (1994). Almost just after that Pierre Berger asked him to take care of the Men’s Collections Direction of Yves Saint Laurent and in 1996 he becomes Artistic Director for the luxury French house. In Autumn-winter 2000 to 2001, Hedi Slimane launched the Black Tie collection and it was his initial skinny silhouette signature. After that, he was offered to become the Artistic Director of Jil Sander but he had bigger plans as he wanted to have a more global and multi-facetted beautiful luxury house. That is why he decided to accept the offer from LVMH and become the Artistic Director of Christian Dior Men’s collection. For the first time he had the feeling to get a platform that would allow him to deploy all his art. He reshape Dior Homme in such ways that the franchise would go from a dying business to the mot hot brand of the decade.

Celine, A Hidden Jewel within LVMH

It was in 1945, when Céline Vipiana and her husband, Richard, created one of the first luxury brands in the industry, Céline, a made-to-measure children’s shoe business, and opened a first boutique at 52 rue Malte in Paris. The brand was recognised by its logo, the red elephant created by Raymont Peynet. In 1960, the brand decided to change its positioning by focusing its business on a ready-to-wear fashion brand for women with a sportswear approach. Henceforth, the brand offered a range of leather goods such as bags, loafers, gloves and clothes. Céline Vipiana remained the designer from 1945-1997. In 1987, Bernard Arnault decided to buy into Céline’s capital. However, it was only in 1996 that the brand was integrated into the LVMH group for US$540 million. LVMH propelled the brand to fame with the opening of a boutique at 36 avenue Montaigne in Paris.
The first Creative director of the brand in this new era was Michael Kors. He brought a modern femininity to the brand and established a solid business on accessories. He stayed 7 years before leaving the brand in order to focus on his own business. Other Creative Directors followed but the one who deserves a special highlight is Phoebe Philo.   When Bernard Arnault announced in 2008 that Phoebe Philo becomes the new Creative Director, it was the start of an iconic lift of the brand. Phoebe Philo brought a new touch to the brand creating functional clothes with a focus on materials and tailoring. In 2009, Vogue Magazine defined her style as the “cool minimal trend”. Celine became the IT brand that any fashionista should wear (or dye trying).

Slimane at Celine, a new era will start… for sure

What can we expect to see in this new chapter for Celine? For sure there will be a lot of changes. Hedi Slimane does not arrive in a luxury house and leave things as they are. His mission sounds clear. To invent Celine’s masculinity and bring his magic touch into a new men’s ready-to-wear and fragrance collections. It will be interesting to see how far will he go. Did Bernard Arnaud provide a carte blanche to Hedi Slimane, as he did for Dior Homme? So far we can see that he gets the Artistic, the Creative and the image Direction. Basically, he has full power. The potential is huge and we can only wish good luck to such a talent.

José Amorim

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