The fashion industry was abuzz this week as Hedi Slimane dropped the accent from Celine. He also adjusted the typography of the logo. It created some debate and put Celine at the top of the newsfeed. In my opinion, the change, especially erasing the é, was unnecessary.
Marketing-wise, though, I guess it’s a good ploy. It got people talking about what Slimane will bring to the brand even before we see a single piece from his debut collection. He even wiped clean the Celine Instagram account to give way to the four posts that herald the Slimane era. But the brand, with its long history, chic aesthetic and current relevance, doesn’t need to resort to those tricks.
Celine is known and well-loved, especially of late, when Phoebe Philo, Slimane’s predecessor, did wonders to make it a covetable brand among today’s trending labels. In a way, she returned to its roots of serving “fashion for everyone.” Call me a Philo fan, so what I’m saying may be biased, but I don’t see why Slimane had to revamp something which didn’t need any changes. Celine, especially in the Philo days, got its strength from being a brand that let the clothes speak for themselves. It was cool because it deviated from the usual social media gimmicks. The brand wasn’t about trending; it was just about being good.
“The chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google. God, I would love to be that person!” said Philo at one point. When you’re flooded with one influencer campaign after the other, that ethos can be refreshing. And it’s what works for Celine, it goes with the brand’s DNA.
I think that’s what Slimane is missing out on.
What I’m also after is a bit more respect for the brand. Celine takes its name from the brand’s founder, Céline Vipiana. She helmed the brand for 40 years, establishing their signature style that was easy-to-wear.
I feel that Slimane is foregoing that DNA just for the sake of shock value. It seems as if the change in logo is just to grab attention for the designer. But as much as it is important to leave your own mark, I feel like a creative director should understand how a brand is much bigger than himself. It is your job to make sure the tradition continues strongly, because isn’t that what we look for in a luxury heritage brand?
Amid all the things that come in fashion, these are the labels we trust, and which have seen the test of time. These are the brands that don’t give in to trend, but rather, dictate it.
While I’m all for mixing your own creative influence into a heritage brand to make it seem exciting, there are other ways to do it. This feels like it’s just creating a way to get attention. People are going to get shocked, people will argue. But what I think matters is how you do away with all these campaigns and just stick to making good clothes.
The name change, debuted in a way we’ve seen pop stars announce a new album, follows a casual drop from Slimane: a big black bag which was suddenly seen on the arm of Lady Gaga.
This is another reason why I’m not so hopeful about #CELINEBYHEDISLIMANE. If I were to be honest, and this is just my opinion, the bag feels a bit dated. It looks like a reworked design from yet another heritage brand, I won’t mention which one. But the fact that it looks like a copy from another label isn’t exactly going to get you far.
A good designer doesn’t give in to social media buzz. I’d rather have a good collection from a low-profile campaign rather than a hyped-up campaign that overpowers the quality and storyline of every collection.
Still, I look forward to what Slimane is going to bring to Celine. For one, there will be a menswear line and, I’m sure, a few more surprises along the way.