Why are people mad at Hedi Slimane's Celine debut?


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Source: Man Repeller

The long-awaited debut of Hedi Slimane at Celine was only last week. Despite being arguably the most anticipated show on the Fashion Week calendar, the show was ultimately a flop and left many critics mad. Let’s recap on everything that was wrong with the Celine collection. 

The Political Climate

Many followers were disgruntled by the fact that the show was during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings in Washington. With the Kavanaugh situation in the United States, fashion week seemed trivial.

With female models in very short skirts, critics labelled the collection misogynistic. TV journalist Loïc Prigent, even called Slimane the “Donald Trump” of fashion. In defence, Slimane has responded to Prigent in an exclusive statement. In his response, he called his critics “conservative, puritanical and possibly homophobic”, according to WWD. “For some in America, I also have the poor taste of being a man who is succeeding a woman. You could read into that a subtext of latent homophobia that is quite surprising. Is a man drawing women’s collections an issue?” Slimane said. 

However, we all know that the problem isn’t the fact that Slimane is a male creative director. It’s Slimane’s disregard for his predecessor, Pheobe Philo. Ex-creative director, Philo is known to have resurrected the Parisian fashion house by making clothes women wanted to wear. Creating collections with minimalist aesthetics, Philo created a dialogue in fashion that empowered women.  

Throwing all of Philo’s Celine aside and overlooking the feminist values integral to Celine, Slimane’s execution of the brand is reflective of situation with Kavanuagh in The United State’s. Kavanuagh, an accused sexual abuser, may have the chance to decide on one of the most important cases regarding women’s rights in the history of the United States. Slimane, who has no idea of what t women want to wear, nor is he willing to learn, is given a seat at the table to do whatever he desires with a once dwindling brand a female had to resuscitate.

Will men always be given power despite their inabilities or wrongdoings? If you don’t believe politics play an important role in fashion, you should now.

Casting

You would think that diversity is becoming more common-place on the runway. While models of colour are walking more runways than ever at NYFW, Slimane has decided to take a trip back in time. With the 96 models walking the show, only nine of the models were of colour. That’s a significant discrepancy when comparing Slimane’s casting to the total number of non-white models who walked during NYFW. While 44.8 per cent of the models were of colour during NYFW, only nine per cent of Celine’s models were of colour. What an alarming discrepancy!

Slimane not Celine

Despite leaving Saint Laurent for Celine, Slimane has not changed his design approach at all. Slimane has been notoriously known for completely rebranding fashion houses, such as Saint Laurent and Dior Homme in the past.

In an email interview with Le Figaro, Slimane did warn critics about the collection, saying “You don’t enter a fashion house to imitate the work of your predecessor”. However, does this collection show that Slimane is unmalleable when it comes to his work, or is he just too arrogant to even consider the traditional aesthetics of a fashion house?

Many critics said that this collection was a carbon copy of his past work at Saint Laurent. DietPrada, notoriously known as the new fashion police of the industy had this to say: Hedi Slimane picks right back up where he left off at @ysl. TBH, did we expect anything else? 

Although Slimane does have full creative control to do whatever he pleases with Celine, it would be nice for him to keep reinterpret Pheobe Philo’s Celine that instilled values that empowered women.

Words by Jenny Qian


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