Heidi Slimane’s debut collection for Celine was highly criticised and on more than one level. Not only was he criticised for bringing the same style of design with him from Saint Laurent; but he was also shockingly criticised for his short skirts and dresses. However, the designer hit back and retaliated saying that these critics are “conservative and puritanical,…, with a homophobic undertone,”. Celine’s fans were outraged at the ease of which the designer discarded the seeming spirit of Celine for the sake of imprinting his rock ’n’ roll aesthetic he so favoured at Saint Laurent. So is Hedi Slimane the best or worst thing to happen to Celine?
Critics were clearly divided when it came to Slimane’s designs; and Slimane’s arrival at Celine was funnily compared to Trump’s arrival to the presidency. The designer felt that the comparison to Trump was “opportunistic, bold, and fairly comical”, he rejected the notion that women aren’t allowed to dress freely anymore. He also iterated that at times like these when “violence is a reflection of our time” there are no longer any limits and hatred is amplified and is taking over.
But Slimane is adamant on forcing his imprint on things, just like he removed the Yves from Saint Laurent and added the Paris at the end he did the same for Celine and removed the accent to much outcry! We never thought that Saint Laurent would catch on but it did and the Celine without the accent looks too flat and boring yet his collection is anything but that!
Celine is known as a feminist fashion brand; and there were many comments concerning the fact that Slimane is a male designer who took over the position of a successful female designer with a 10-year stint at Celine. Phoebe Philo was known for her modernist clothing and sophisticated luxurious leather goods whereas Slimane was accused of bringing with him the same spirit of Saint Laurent. This criticism also brings to light the fact that no matter what, this will always remain a male dominated industry despite the cries calling to shift that dynamic. But one cannot say that Slimane cannot design for women; numbers don’t lie and his Saint Laurent sales clearly dispute that! However, Slimane is thrilled at the unexpected publicity this criticism is bringing to his collection.
Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent in 2013
Though Philo’s reign at Celine was immensely successful; she did bring the brand into the limelight again, and even though the notion of women designing for women should be approached on a whole new level, however in this case it does feel like the label needs some shaking up…and this is what Slimane would certainly do! It is clear that this is all just business and fashion cannot be overly political …so here’s to hoping that this is not another gender inequality moment!