Hedi Slimane has given his very first interview since joining Celine. The designer, who is notoriously press-shy, spoke to the French newspaper Le Figaro about his plans for the French fashion house, how his vision differs from Phoebe Philo’s, and why he removed the accent in Celine.
Slimane also touched on his relationship with social media, his design aesthetic, and explained how he found the perfect black for his first collection at Celine.
Business of Fashion translated the interview into English from the original French. Read the six key quotes from the interview below, then head to BoF to read the full story. You can read the orginal French version here.
Hedi Slimane will make his debut at Celine this Friday, September 28.
"At Celine, the weight of the past is not as heavy as it is at Dior or Saint Laurent. We can break free of it more easily. Celine is a vision of Paris, a way of being worn… I don’t want to lock it up in something. There’s no constraint, no model that is linked to a very important legacy."
On how his vision for the brand is different to Phoebe Philo’s
"Our respective styles are identifiable and very different. Our vision is naturally distinct. Besides, we don’t enter a fashion house to imitate our predecessor, much less to take over the essence of their work, their codes and elements of language. The goal is not to go the opposite way of their work either. It would be a misinterpretation.
"Respect means preserving the integrity of each individual, recognising the things that belong to another person with honesty and discernment. It also means starting a new chapter. We arrive then with our own stories, our own culture, a personal semantic that is different from the ones of houses in which we create. We have to be ourselves, without any stance, against all odds."
On removing the accent in the Celine logo
"There’s always affective reactions about the logos. Nowadays it’s even more present due to the viral effect of social media. It’s normal. It was anticipated but it had to be done. The major houses are alive. They must evolve and find the essence of what they truly are. Everything but indifference. We don’t shake things up to be subtle. When there’s no debate, it means there’s no opinion, which brings us to blind conformity."
On his design aesthetic
"Twenty years ago I put back the shoulders where they should be, and I redefined a line. I built back what had been destructured by adding in the concept of movement, of blurring, to use a photography term. This is part of my obsessions.
"I have always thought about masculinity as being represented in other ways than in the body, the muscles, the common places of virility. I was always interested in the “beginnings”, in the idea of the first suit, the pleasure and the young desire of a first jacket, a jacket for going out, some kind of tailoring for men that is devoid of any statuary character, far from the constraints and conventions of the banker suit. This had to involve a redefinition of the codes and the silhouette."
On the color black
"Black is sharp and straightforward. It is indivisible from my fashion style and my photography. I have worked a lot with the black effects, especially with coated effects, satin-finished effects, shiny, coppery effects, in contrast with matte-finished effects.
"As for the creation of exclusive fabric or leather for Celine, black requires a very special attention. We go through hundreds of samples in order to find the perfect black jacket or the perfect little black dress. There have been collections dedicated to black at Saint Laurent, particularly in 1999 when I launched the laser cut leather, and later at Dior Homme with the Berliners collections."
On social media
"I really like Instagram when it comes to commitments and to artistic projects. This is a platform that undoubtedly promotes the discovery of new talents, and the sharing of innovative ideas. I don’t have any private accounts on social media. I don’t have a personal Instagram account, for instance. My photography website is displayed on Instagram, but this page is not linked to me.
"I understand the craze, but in my opinion, the personal privacy seems to be the last luxury that needs to be preserved. The excitement over selfies is also an anthropological topic in itself. It’s interesting to see what this will become in the long term."
Now, check out the neon-filled style outside the Prada SS19 show.