A stadium in Monaco was the backdrop for Celine’s SS21 womenswear collection. Titled “portrait of a generation” by its Creative Director Hedi Slimane, it debuted online as a filmed catwalk show on Tuesday.
It was a story of youth where streetwear dominated. From afar it looked like any typical teenager clad in Converse, cut-off jeans, a K Way windbreaker and bucket hat. Except these looks wouldn’t be found in any ordinary teenager’s wardrobe. They were Slimane’s reworked luxury versions: high-end garments where ever seam, stitch and fabric choice is considered and controlled for precision.
Celine’s bourgeois madam is no more
The bourgeois Parisian look of Slimane’s Celine debut has morphed into a Gen Z vibe with logo’d tees and accessories as a new uniform. There wasn’t a pair of heels in sight. Tailoring was kept mostly to jackets, again teamed with denim and shorts or worn over day dresses. Sneakers took their cue from Palladium and Stan Smith’s Velcro version. Wellington boots and ballerina slippers were the other choice of footwear.
The opening credits of the show, filmed documentary style, depicted the soaring rooftops of Monaco, zooming in on decorative sculptures, ornate ceilings and decadent chandeliers. The times of aspirational glitz and glamour could seem out of sync when the world is locked at home.
A regular topic of conversation amongst fashion critics is the literal translation of street codes reworked into luxury versions. It’s the high-low fashion debate of high street versus luxury and what consumers expect and buy into from an established, Parisian fashion house.
In this time of coronavirus the fashion industry, like the rest of the world, has been in constant flux for nearly one year. Online sales data has shown categories like eveningwear and tailoring have been largely eschewed for casual items like sweats and comfort clothes now that offices are shut and most folks are working from home.
Slimane has a proven knack for reading the zeitgeist and this is a collection traditional merchandisers would consider a thorough winner, with ample saleable product categories and logo items that perform well at retail. What this collection lacked, however, was authenticity. You can stamp a rubber sole with a Celine logo, but it still wouldn’t be as cool as Converse.
Photos: Celine website