When Hedi Slimane—fashion’s resident “bad boy”—arrived at Celine to replace Phoebe Philo—the woman who made clothes women wanted to wear—it became clear that the brand was headed in a decidedly different direction. Tasked with giving Celine new life, Slimane readied himself to reinvent the French fashion house from the ground-up, using a formula he had mastered at Saint Laurent: After axing the brand’s accent aigu (quelle horreur!), the newly-installed creative, artistic, and image director introduced menswear to the Celine brand for his Spring 2019 debut in October. Tailored suits and babydoll dresses covered in sequins paraded down a runway that was once known for its clean lines and minimalism. Now, Celine is currently in talks with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, which decides the Paris Fashion Week show schedules, to secure a slot on the Fall 2019 menswear calendar. If approved, Slimane’s next Celine show will most likely take place in January 2019, WWD reports.
So what? For starters, these changes signal a clear demonstration of Hedi’s complete autonomy over Celine, and his intention to return the brand to certain house codes while clearly separating his version from Phoebe’s. And though Slimane’s appointment at Celine has been met with a healthy dose of criticism, as British Vogue points out, there’s an expectation that Slimane will raise the bar for the brand, at least financially-speaking.
“The objective with [Hedi] is to reach at least two billion to three billion euros, and perhaps more, within five years,” LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said of Slimane’s appointment. “Everything is in place for this brand to achieve quite exceptional growth.”
While at Saint Laurent, Slimane’s overhaul of the brand increased sales by $32 million in the first year. The question is: Will that formula work again?