That’s Palace! Celine in search of lost effervescence



Paris fashion week has never looked so powerful. Whether it’s the men’s edition last January or the women’s ready-to-wear which will start at the end of February, all the most important brands have chosen to return to the official calendar. All… except one: Celine, piloted by Hedi Slimane. The artistic director organized a women’s show in Los Angeles in December 2022. And another, men’s, three weeks after men’s fashion week, on Friday February 10 at the Palace in Paris.

This theater located near the Grands Boulevards now hosts exhibitions. At the turn of the 80s, it was the epicenter of Parisian nightlife, a club where Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Grace Jones, Prince, Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall met. As a teenager, young Hedi Slimane assiduously frequented this place, to which he has always attached particular sentimental value, and where he celebrated his fiftieth birthday in 2018. With his men’s fall-winter 2023-2024 show, the designer set out to find of lost effervescence.


About 700 people were invited. Fashion professionals – journalists and buyers – were far from being the majority. The actors Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Romain Duris, Mathieu Kassovitz rubbed shoulders with musicians from very different worlds: rock stars (Jack White), hip-hop (Wiz Khalifa), K-pop (Lisa de Black Pink), from the French scene (Jane Birkin, Justice, Benjamin Biolay, Etienne Daho)… But the assembly was mainly made up of cool young people who enliven the Parisian nightlife: apprentice actors, models, musicians, authors.

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Hedi Slimane’s work has always been about youth, whether it’s his clothes or his photographs. From its beginnings, at Dior Homme in 2000, its fashion shows have been an opportunity to present and dress artists on the rise, to document the emergence of a new rock scene in France, England and the United States. The style of dress he imposed – a close-fitting silhouette, tight-fitting trousers and jackets – merged with this then-dominant musical movement. Groups like Franz Ferdinand, The Kills and The Libertines fueled the imagination of Hedi Slimane, who designed the wardrobe of a generation.


For several seasons, Hedi Slimane has been immersing himself with Celine in the 2000s. This collection thus echoes the rock style, in its flamboyant vein with total looks in black leather, slim pants and biker jackets enhanced with studs or rhinestones; or coats in leopard or tiger print shearling. The London influence is expressed with fine ties, striped suits that stop at the ankles, highlighting pointed toe ankle boots, sometimes worn with tweed coats. A few couture pieces bring a dose of fantasy, like this black velvet jacket embroidered with thousands of crystals, glass beads and sequins reproducing a delicate cherry pattern. Collages by singer Alan Vega are found on T-shirts; the soundtrack that accompanies the collection is a remix of Girla song by his electronic rock band, Suicide.


After the parade, the Palace hosted several concerts, including that of the Libertines, heralds of English indie rock in the early 2000s. to his habit of documenting the lives he attends.

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This same scene already took place twenty years ago, elsewhere than at the Palace, in London concert halls. If history repeats itself, time does its work: Hedi Slimane is no longer alone in the crowd, but flanked by three bodyguards. Libertines singer Pete Doherty no longer fits into skinny suits and now wears suspenders to prop up his pants. The young adults who make up the audience no longer wear the same (rock) uniform, their varied style can refer to the 70s, 80s, 90s. In 2023, muscular and hairy men sport low-cut dresses, heeled boots, makeup.

This Proustian doubling of time, between repetition of the past and persistence of the present, illustrates well the ambiguities of current fashion, summoned to constantly renew itself while the needs of consumers change little, that the forms are hardly renewed.
Failing to provide an answer to existential questions, Hedi Slimane will have the merit of having made the parade exercise exciting. Managing to create a festive and singular moment these days is no small thing.

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