When we learned that Céline’s hugely influential creative director, Phoebe Philo, would be leaving the brand after 10 years back in December, her replacement was a mystery. But it was finally announced on Sunday morning that Hedi Slimane, formerly creative director of Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, will take over as the artistic, creative, and image director. He will oversee women’s fashion, leather goods, and accessories—and introduce menswear to the brand. Philo’s final collection will be shown in March, and Slimane’s first presentation of men’s and women’s clothing will take place in September.
“I am enchanted; what a great choice,” Karl Lagerfeld told WWD of Slimane’s hire. “It will be great.”
Slimane, 49, started his fashion career at Yves Saint Laurent before he was hired by LVMH in 2000 to create Dior Homme, where he was known for his sharp tailoring. Seven years later he made his way back to YSL and rebranded it as Saint Laurent, where he was criticized for featuring a shockingly thin model in a spring-summer ’15 British advertisement. (The ad was banned for being “irresponsible.”)
While at Saint Laurent, Slimane introduced his rock-’n’-roll style to the brand. “At Saint Laurent, Mr. Slimane became famous for collections seemingly aimed at the young and the fretless, including the musicians, models, and hangers-on he met in Los Angeles, where he made his home and where he relocated the Saint Laurent studio, The New York Times wrote in an article Sunday announcing Slimane’s hire.
Under Philo, who was named British Fashion Council’s Designer of the Year in 2005 and 2010, and the CFDA’s International Designer of the Year in 2011, Céline was known for making beautiful, androgynous clothing and leather goods for working women—though Slimane’s new direction might shift the aesthetic even more toward the millennial demographic. He’s moving fast too: According to WWD, “the first freestanding Céline men’s boutiques are to open as early as 2019.”
According to The New York Times, Slimane will work from Los Angeles, like he did when he oversaw Saint Laurent. There will also be a studio and atelier in Paris, but Philo’s London studio will close.
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