CE­LINE VS CÉ­LINE

Footwear News - - INSIDER -

“You mean the Cé­line fu­neral?” was one anony­mous buyer’s an­swer to Hedi Sli­mane’s de­but of Ce­line (ac­cent re­moved) for the spring ’19 sea­son. While the de­signer’s in­tro­duc­tion of his very spe­cific vi­sion of a rock ’n’ roll, black-clad it­er­a­tion of the French brand was no real sur­prise to most, there was nev­er­the­less an out­pour­ing of crit­i­cism from ed­i­tors, stylists and oth­ers fol­low­ing the Sept. 28 Paris Fash­ion Week show.

A group of in­sid­ers even hosted their own me­mo­rial hon­or­ing the col­lec­tions that Phoebe Philo cre­ated for Cé­line start­ing in 2008 to the spring ’18 sea­son (the last col­lec­tion be­fore the Bri­tish de­signer an­nounced her re­tire­ment this year in De­cem­ber). At­tico de­signer and stylist Gior­gia Tor­dini, brand con­sul­tant Ramya Gian­gola, Far­fetch VP of style and cre­ative Yas­min Sewell and oth­ers met out­side La Bar du Caveau at the Place Dauphine hours be­fore the show wear­ing Philo’s de­signs to cel­e­brate the “for women, by a woman” ethos, all while street-style pho­tog­ra­pher Tommy Ton doc­u­mented the in­for­mal soirée.

Al­most im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the show, the In­sta­gram ac­count @old­ce­line popped up, a page ded­i­cated to Philo’s de­signs (and one to tag when wear­ing them). And re­sale site The Real Real’s home­page fea­tured a cu­ra­tion of Cé­line’s Philo era the day af­ter, with pieces that are now con­sid­ered col­lec­tor’s items. (The fa­mous fur-lined san­dals are sell­ing out for ap­prox­i­mately $550.)

“Ev­ery­one loved what Phoebe did. It was al­ways ed­i­to­ri­ally beau­ti­ful, but ul­ti­mately, it was a busi­ness built on hand­bags,” said Ken Down­ing, fash­ion direc­tor and SVP of Neiman Mar­cus, who also noted that sell­ing the ready-to-wear was more complicated at re­tail than its edi­tor sta­tus in­di­cated.

Down­ing ad­mit­ted that he was “hop­ing

for a lit­tle bit more vo­cab­u­lary that would link to Cé­line,” and pointed to the styling of the show as a pos­si­ble cause for such a strong re­ac­tion. “Look­ing back to the first sea­son [Sli­mane was] at YSL, it was su­per-dis­rup­tive. He was look­ing to do that,” said Down­ing. But the re­tailer also said he’s been in­un­dated with mes­sages from cus­tomers on so­cial me­dia telling him that they are ex­cited about Sli­mane’s di­rec­tion. “A run­way pre­sen­ta­tion is only one por­tion of what hap­pens [with a new col­lec­tion],” Down­ing said. “You put the pedal to the metal in the show­room, and that’s where things re­ally hap­pen.”

A visit to the brand’s tem­po­rary show­room af­ter the show re­vealed that ob­ser­va­tion to be true. Along­side the run­way pieces was a larger of­fer­ing of com­mer­cial ready-to-wear that was lighter on the rock ’n’ roll vibe. Hand­bags in­cluded old hits like the Lug­gage and clas­sic box styles, and there was a strong se­lec­tion of well-made boots (biker, Western and clas­sic an­kles with minia­ture stud­ding), plus pumps and a new sneaker style.

As for the fate of Philophiles? Down­ing pointed to brands like The Row and Rosetta Getty as sup­ple­ments to the idio­syn­cratic je ne sais pas of Cé­line — ac­cent on.

Cé­line seen on the streets of Paris; Sli­mane’s de­but for Ce­line

Cé­line spring ’18 from Philo

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