Apr 25th, 2019, 12:45 PM

Protest Brings Back Old, Old Celine

By Valeria Sarto
oldceline, celine, hedi slimane, phoebe philo, fashion, ysl, yves saint laurent
Céline 1975 campaign. Image Credits: Flickr/Meanredz
A sort of democracy in fashion.

Hedi Slimane has created a whirlwind of controversial discourse that put him straight in the spotlight.

Fashion fans feel strongly about their favorite brands, the ones they consume heavily and feel most confident in. Especially those all-hailing former Creative Director of Céline, Phoebe Philo, the woman who created clothes for today's woman for her day-to-day life.

When Slimane came in as new creative director of Celine, sans accent, he brought his typical grunge, party-style into a brand  popular for its sleek and  perfected style.

After a long reign of protest via the internet, Philo fans were eager to see if Slimane heard what they had to see for this FW'19 collection. To most of Philo’s fans, Slimane seemed to have heard their message, and gave them what they wanted. This time Slimane  presented what people are calling “old, old Céline.” As Angelo Flaccavento from Business of Fashion  wrote: “Hail the new Celine girl: modern — circa 1975 — and without a doubt very Celine… as in straight from the archives.”

Celine | Fall/Winter 2019/20 | Paris Fashion Week

Celine, Paris Fashion Week FW 2019 | Source: Youtube

Dropping YSL and jumping into Celine, Slimane's first collection debuted on the Paris Fashion Week runway, resembling an anti-Philo Céline. Phoebe Philo Celine fans were, to say the least, not pleased. Rampaging through Instagram, you found them screaming #oldcéline and posting their favorite pieces. You can compare the shift from Philo’s Céline to Slimane’s Celine here.




A post shared by CELINE (@celine) on

Celine Under Hedi Slimane. Image Credit: Instagram @celine

The shift from Philo to Slimane was a drastic change, and people couldn’t stop talking about it. With the unfortunate passing of Karl Lagerfeld, people started to consider who was to take over the house. When Virginie Viard, Lagerfeld’s right hand, took over at Chanel, people were excited that for the first time since Gabrielle Chanel herself, a woman is at the helm. 

Women understand women, and it is perfectly said by Clara Young at Fashion Magazine: “The woman drawing a women’s collection at Céline produced assertive clothes for women who work, run board meetings, seduce people, go grocery shopping and take their children to karate class, while the man drawing a women’s collection at Celine produced micro party frocks for indie-rock princesses.”

Gabrielle Boucinha, founder of Old Celine on Instagram, speaks on why she loves Phoebe Philo. She tells former fashion editor at Refinery29, Alyssa Coscarelli, “Phoebe’s Céline was all about being confident, strong, proud and powerful… It was very liberating to see a fashion house present women with what they actually want to wear." Philo's Céline revolved around the concept of female empowerment; she promoted natural beauty and blended masculine and feminine designs that redefined what sexy meant to a lot of women. 




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Mariko Kuo Wears the Respect the É T-shirt. | Source: Instagram @marikokuo

When we think of brands like Celine (formerly Céline) and Saint Laurent (formerly Yves Saint Laurent), we see what their creators envisioned for a brand. Slimane, as former creative director of Saint Laurent and currently Celine, seems to envision things differently – seriously differently.

After exploring the world of Yves Saint Laurent at the Paris location of Musée Yves Saint Laurent, the vision and tribute to art and artists are evident across Saint Laurent's collections. Saint Laurent was inspired by the world and by culture. His designs brought them to life in a new and timeless way.

Slimane did not use his power and platform at Saint Laurent to relay this message to the consumers. Yet, using controversy and provocation, Saint Laurent grew commercially  in ways a luxury fashion brand rarely does.

YSL 1965

Yves Saint Laurent Fashion Show, Mondrian Inspired Dress. Video Credit: Youtube 
Completely rebranding what a brand constitutes  seems wrong. Critics of the removal of the accent in Céline  claim there is no respect as to what the brand means. In an interview with Fast Company, Eric Hu, former design director at SSENSE, said that "Even if unintentional, it feels as if it was an attempt to be a revisionist with history."  By taking the Yves out of Yves Saint Laurent,  thus erasing the master of his own brand, and removing the accent from Céline, he changed the brands' message.

At least this time fans reminded Slimane that if he is to be the force behind their community, he  had better live up to the Philo aesthetic  and design what Celine women want to wear.