Celine

Celine was founded in Paris in 1945, when Céline and Richard Vipiana opened a custom shoe shop for children, but its modern incarnation dates to the 1960s, when the Vipianas began selling ready-to-wear. Luxe sportswear with couturelike finishing was, and is, Céline’s raison d’être. Michael Kors was brought in to revive the label in the late ’90s, but it was Phoebe Philo who made Celine one of the most important brands in luxury fashion after she joined in 2007. Critics credited her with pushing fashion in a new direction, toward a more spare, stripped-down kind of sophistication. What Philo’s Celine offered women was, as Vogue put it, “a grown-up and hip way to put themselves together.”

While Philo’s minimalism may have been interpreted as an attempt to realign the prevailing values of the industry, she was, in fact, putting the emphasis back on the core fundamentals of Celine. “I just thought I’d clean it up,” she said in an interview during those early days. “Make it strong and powerful—a kind of contemporary minimalism.”

Through the 2010s, that minimalism took on an artsier tone and influenced an entire generation of young designers (and more than a few copycats). Perhaps the only name as influential as Philo’s at that time was Hedi Slimane, who shocked the industry by ushering in a vintage-y, grungy California vibe at Saint Laurent. When Philo departed Celine in late 2017 Slimane was promptly named her successor.

Before he’d even designed a garment, it was clear his “new Celine” would be a clean break from the old. Slimane’s first order of business was to drop the accent over the e in Céline Vipiana’s name, just as he’d cut “Yves” from Yves Saint Laurent; he introduced Celine’s first-ever menswear collection shortly after, bringing his signature New Wave suits to a new customer.

Slimane finds similar inspiration in Celine’s “luxe sportswear” past. His particular obsession is the brand’s bourgeois aesthetic of the ’70s, “a time of nonfashion,” as Vogue’s Sarah Mower wrote of his agenda-setting fall 2019 collection. “This was old, old Celine—exactly the kind of politely classy merchandise originally sold under the label before LVMH acquired it, long before even Phoebe Philo’s predecessor, Michael Kors, was drafted to make runway shows out of it.” If those pleated skirts, knee-high boots, and tweed blazers made up the “uniform” of ’70s parisiennes, Slimane has made those items newly relevant—and downright desirable—for their Gen Z daughters.

  1. Celine Essential T-Shirt

2. Celine Classic T-Shirt

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