Eclecticism is a virtue for Celine's summer '21 collection
One of the things that makes Hedi Slimane such a fascinating – perhaps verging on mystical – figure in luxury fashion is that during his time he’s managed to maintain an aura of mysterious inaccessibility without going quite so far as to be considered unapproachably reclusive. His personal designs on the industry has always seemed to be (to put it in original Yoda vernacular) ‘do, don’t speak’. From Dior Homme to the creative director’s chair at Saint Laurent (where he forever left his mark by rebranding YSL to Saint Laurent) to the same at Celine, while all the time being one of fashion’s most exciting photographers, Slimane hasn’t exactly narrated his journey to the media over the years. Fortunately, whether it’s with a camera or a pair of pinking shears, Slimane’s fingers have always sought to do the talking for him.
Celine’s S/S2021 collections only served to reinforce that creative narrative about his formidable talents, particularly the women’s ready-to-wear collection. While the men’s collection was shown on a deserted motor racing track in Marseille, the woman’s show took over a cavernous athletics stadium in Monaco. Both locations leant themselves to the young, edgy collections on show that drew inspiration from youth culture, urban styles and sportswear. The sheer size of the women’s collection also tells you just how much Slimane had to ‘say’ this season. And yet, as eclectic as it was, the whole underlying story of familiar, easy-wearing pieces, all with that distinctive sharp Parisian edge, was unmistakable.
Hoodies worn over delicate, layered summer dresses with asymmetric hems and finished off with chunky Chelsea boots; sweat pants teamed with hi-top sneakers and a cropped black leather biker jacket; black, quilted leather, drawstring waist short shorts teamed with a denim jacket and sports bra top – there were all manner of different combinations pulling from all different sorts of angles, yet it all came together to create one fashionably coherent picture. Celine may be one of the few designers you can wear head-to-toe next summer and not actually look like you’re wearing head-to-toe Celine.
That creativity and eclecticism is also reflected in the show film for the collection. While it could have been a very standard show film – and it certainly does start that way – as it progresses and the beat becomes more hypnotic suddenly the camera angles become more dramatic, the strobe lighting becomes more frenetic and even some of the dresses on the ‘catwalk’ begin to twinkle like stars in daylight. As with most of Slimane’s work, verbal description rarely does it justice, which is perhaps why we should all take a leaf out of his book and just see it for ourselves to get the best experience – the experience he himself intended.
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