Céline vs Celine

Article by Heather Hudson, Graphic by Anne Anderson

This past February, the fashion world saw the last of Phoebe Philo’s designs for Céline on the runway. LVMH announced in January this year that Philo would be replaced by Hedi Slimane and would begin working on his SS19 line. Slimane was the previous creative director of Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent. He became notorious for his controversial and edgy designs in the past.

As soon as Slimane made his transition to Celine, he already began making changes. This included dropping the accent from the ‘E’ and designing pieces opposite of Philo’s minimalistic, reserved style.  

Phoebe Philo’s designs for Céline reflected the women’s empowerment movement. Her structured designs redefined power suits and women’s style. Her looks were never too revealing and were intended to make a woman feel strong. Hedi Slimane, however, is known for doing the complete opposite. His designs feature low cuts, short hemlines and high slits. His SS19 runway show was a bit of a shock for avid old Céline fans, and a bit disappointing as well.

When a new creative director takes over a brand, the brand is obviously going to change. Creative designers resign often, and it’s not always bad. This change, however, was drastic. Céline went from offering minimal, classic and structured looks to offering sequined, low-cut and revealing dresses. There have been positive transitions, like when Maria Grazia Churi took over Raf Simmons’ position at Dior.

If you are up-to-date in fashion news, you probably know that dropping the accent above the first “e” in Celine was Slimane’s doing, and people are upset. People have even gone out in the streets of big cities, like New York and Paris, painting the old accent on new Celine posters. Slimane also changed YSL’s logo by dropping the “Yves” and establishing the brand as Saint Laurent. Slimane tends to refine logos by removing “unnecessary” elements. Is this his way of being a minimalist?

On Instagram, fashion influencers, celebrities and fans of Philo are sporting their old Céline looks in honor of the brand’s previous creative director. Several Instagram users are tagging their photos with the account @oldceline, a user dedicated to the works of Philo since 2008. The account emerged after Slimane’s debut during fashion week in September. The account already has 122,000 followers.

Perhaps people are uncomfortable with the change simply because they don’t like change, or maybe their disapprovals are rooted more deeply. Slimane’s abrupt changes and his flashy, risqué designs seem like a step backward in promoting women empowerment and strength for Celine.

Photos courtesy of This is Glamorous

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