Critics give Slimane's Celine grudging thumbs up

Paris (AFP) –


Fashion critics gave Hedi Slimane's root-and-branch remake of Celine some grudging respect Saturday after excoriating the superstar designer's earlier "thrashing" of the brand's feminist legacy.

To the delight of secondhand shops across the world, Slimane again raided the 1970s wardrobe lock, stock and culottes in his Paris fashion week show late Friday.

He continued the bourgeois, horsey-set vibe of his first fall/winter collection at the label in March, where he brought back the culotte -- one of the big high street trends of the year.

But the legendary trendsetter charged by LVMH fashion magnate Bernard Arnault with turning Celine into a major global brand, gave his looks more of the stylish Slimane twist than the cut-and-paste feel of his earlier efforts.

While The Guardian was still wistful about the loss of his predecessor Phoebe Philo's "female-centric fashion", it conceded that Slimane's "new look at Celine has bedded in".

- No longer fashion's Trump -

The days when Philo made women "look fabulous without restrictive clothing and towering heels" may be gone, said critic Hannah Marriott but at least Slimane had heeded the brickbats.

He was savaged after his debut Celine show last October for unceremoniously dumping Philo's minimalist aesthetic, with one critic branding him the "Donald Trump of fashion" and another abhorring the "crotch-skimming cocktail dresses" he had made for wafer-thin vamps.

But Slimane did an about-turn in his second show in March to his present 1970/1980s reboot, a look he now seems to be sticking to.

This time he added faded flared denims, blazers, waistcoats and a three-piece pinstripe suit to the pussy bow silk blouses and long skirts and boots.

In a rare interview before the show, Slimane said riffing on the clothes of buttoned-up old money was actually quite radical at a time of "streetwear logo-obsessed normcore".

"Celine's neo-bourgeois Parisian women are like punks, completely out there," he told Vogue.

- Hendrix and Pallenberg -

He said he was channelling the way the late German actress Anita Pallenberg would sometimes look when she stepped out on the arm of Rolling Stone Keith Richards back in the day.

Marriott also saw echoes of Jimi Hendrix and lots of reminders of the understated glam of the American actress Ali MacGraw, the star of the era's big weepie, "Love Story".

The patchwork brown leather jackets, shearling-edged suede coats and mid-calf-length dresses and skirts with long boots were less hippy-dippy and a lot more rocky and streetwise than their 1970s ancestors, however.

Tyler McCall of the Fashionista website pointed to the similarities between some of what Slimane sent out and that shown three nights earlier at his former label Saint Laurent.

"It's no surprise that the works of the late great Yves (Saint Laurent, the label's founder) are probably stored away inside his brain," she added.

Just like his revival of the culotte, you can bet that plenty of people will be copying his turban wrapped scarves worn around the head with long loose hair, other critics argued.

The man once known as the "Sultan of Skinny" has a record of turning labels into cash cows, but also of ruffling feathers.

Slimane dropped the Yves from Saint Laurent when he took over as artistic director at the iconic house in 2012.