I don't buy Hedi Slimane's slim-cut, cigarette-wielding, party-girl schtick, so if you think it's good, you can probably just skip down to the photos—we look at life in fundamentally different ways, and you probably will get mad at me for what I'm about to say. If you've been nervous about what Slimane's appointment as Phoebe Philo's successor at Céline might mean for a brand whose modern image has been predicated on the love and understanding of real, live, working, mothering, fully functional adult professional women, well, I'm here for you. Slimane debuted his first Céline (Celine? He struck the accent from the logo, but it's unclear if it's also been removed from the company name as a whole) collection in Paris late last week, and now we have to acknowledge that he's done what we always feared. He took his one and only idea, which is currently still in the process of getting tired at Saint Laurent, and transposed it onto his new employer, down to the handbags. Nothing of what was there before remains.
At YSL, Slimane rarely put handbags on the runway, but in his debut, we got a couple out of him. They included an exotic version of the Céline 16 Bag that he sent out into the world on Lady Gaga's arm a few weeks ago, as well as a saddle bag in the same design family. Those bags are fine, if a little predictable and indistinctive, and although they don't make me swoon, I have no real problem with them. Far worse are the collection's flap bags, which feature a big C logo that manages to both let you know that Slimane is trying to make a joke about Chanel (as he often did at Saint Laurent with its quilted bags), but also not provide anything positive in the way of aesthetics. It's just a big ol' sans-serif C on a bag that is, again, not particularly distinctive without it.
The third element of the runway's bag collection was a series of elongated flap clutches, reminiscent of a late-80s or early-90s aesthetic of which Slimane is often a fan. They were fine. That's the best I can muster about this collection: parts of it were fine, others were decidedly not. I don't know anyone who works in fashion who had nicer things to say than that, and I can't wait until Phoebe Philo resurfaces again, at another brand, or maybe her own.
[Photos via Vogue Runway]
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