Hedi Slimane is Céline’s newest Artistic, Creative and Image Director, taking over the reins from Phoebe Philo who is widely credited—and celebrated—for ushering the brand into a period of exponential growth via her intellectual yet functional designs. Slimane needs no introduction himself, having proven his mettle at Dior Homme from 2000 to 2007, and later revitalising the House of Saint Laurent during a short but impactful three-year stint.
“He is one of the most talented designers of our time. I have been a great admirer of his work since we collaborated on Dior Homme, which he launched to global critical acclaim in the 2000s. His arrival at Céline reinforces the great ambitions that LVMH has for this Maison,” said Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s CEO, in a statement.
And what great ambitions they are: Slimane has been tasked to introduce menswear, couture and fragrance lines at Céline. The designer added: “I greatly look forward to returning to the exciting world of fashion and the dynamism of the ateliers.”
The announcement by LVMH, which came on Sunday, took fashion insiders and fans of Céline by surprise. After all, Slimane’s aesthetic, which borrows heavily from youth culture and music and favours a skinny-to-the-hilt silhouette, is worlds apart from the minimalist tone set by Philo.
Slimane will no doubt bring a different showmanship style to Céline—from set design or soundtrack, his first show in September will be a carefully choreographed affair. His predilection for black-and-white photography, coupled with his enigmatic hold over A-list celebrities and musicians, will further influence the brand’s image.