CE­LINE

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De­sign­erHediSli­mane gave Ce­line a rockand-roll makeover in his much-hyped de­but col­lec­tion at the brand dur­ing Paris Fash­ion Week, with biker jack­ers, ul­tra­thin suits and sexy mini-dresses ga­lore in a blunt de­par­ture from the la­bel’s past in­car­na­tions.

LVMH, the world’s big­gest lux­ury group and owner of mega-brands such as Louis Vuit­ton, is push­ing Ce­line as its next star per­former un­der Sli­mane, as it rolls out a men’s line and fra­grances, and fur­ther de­vel­ops on­line sales.

Ce­line’s former creative di­rec­tor Phoebe Philo, who stepped down in De­cem­ber, had al­ready added to its ap­peal among fash­ion­istas with a qual­ity of un­der­stated el­e­gance, and the la­bel was also sought af­ter for its hand­bags.

With Sli­mane — a trend­set­ter cred­ited with rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing menswear with the ra­zor-thin sil­hou­ettes he in­tro­duced at LVMH’s Chris­tian Dior in the early 2000s — Ce­line is in for rad­i­cal change, be­yond the ac­cented “e” he has al­ready ditched from the brand name, to a mixed re­ac­tion on so­cial me­dia.

A star-stud­ded cat­walk show just out­side the In­valides mon­u­ment in Paris where Napoleon is buried — at­tended by singer Lady Gaga, ac­tress Cather­ine Deneuve and fash­ion roy­alty in­clud­ing self-pro­fessed Sli­mane fan Karl Lager­feld — gave a sense of the brand’s am­bi­tions.

Fol­low­ing a quite lit­eral drum roll by mem­bers of a spe­cial French gen­darmerie unit, a model emerged from a sea of mir­rors in a black and white, polka-dot­ted over­sized bow of a mini-dress, set­ting the tone for a largely mono­chrome col­lec­tion.

Black suits for him fol­lowed sexy, se­quinned black dresses for her, with oc­ca­sional splashes of sil­ver and gold out­its it for the disco, and buck­led biker boots for a rock-and-roll edge.

The col­lec­tion put Ce­line irmly in the sexy, evening-wear ter­ri­tory staked out by Saint Lau­rent — the brand owned by LVMH ri­val Ker­ing and where Sli­mane held the de­sign reins from 2012 to 2016 - at a time when other la­bels are turn­ing out more so-called streetwear, with sportier looks and sneak­ers.

LVMH boss Bernard Ar­nault has said the group aims to grow an­nual rev­enue at Ce­line to be­tween 2 bil­lion and 3 bil­lion eu­ros ($2.3 bil­lion - $3.5 bil­lion) within ive years, from close to 1 bil­lion eu­ros now.

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