Celine channels the rebellious youth spirit of the 60s

In Hedi Slimane’s latest womenswear collection, trousers are notably absent, shift dresses are dominant and the house debuts its first-ever beauty line.

Hedi Slimane makes no secret of his fascination with subcultures. But the 1960s? It’s a sartorial territory he has yet to plant a foot in. And so this season, for the house’s Women Winter 24 film, titled La Collection De L’Arc De Triomphe, Slimane immersed himself in the decade’s youth-led emancipation and smoky grandeur.

The show was dedicated to his dear friend and mentor” Richard Avedon, who died in 2004, and helped shape American photography with his stark, minimalist portraits of pop culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton. The latter two, especially, captured the new standards of style in the 1960s – a rebellious, irreverent spirit characterised by androgyny, increasingly shorter hemlines and a super-charged spirit.

Slimane also referenced the house of Celine, and what he calls its golden age” in the 1960s. At the time, founder Céline Vipiana took note of the shift in women’s rights and the oncoming need for ease. The house – which, surprisingly, began as a children’s made-to-measure shoe shop in Paris – introduced a luxury ready-to-wear line for the first time, with a focus on practicality and function: two-piece sets, mid-length A‑line skirts and, of course, the decade-defining shift dress.

It was around the same time, in 1964, that Vipiana introduced the house’s first fragrance, Vent Fou. It makes sense, then, that Slimane is launching Celine Beauté – its first-ever cosmetics line, 60-years later, in tandem with this collection. In La Collection De L’Arc De Triomphe, the models wear a subtle shade of nude, La Peau Nue, with the full collection of 15 satin shades available in January 2025. Not too long to wait, now!

It’s worth noting that throughout the 55 looks on show, there wasn’t a single pair of trousers in sight. The first look of Celine’s Winter 24 collection, then, approached the 60s with careful consideration: a black, boxy shift dress, a trio of pearls and Mary Jane low-rise heels; a referential depiction of the decade’s rule-breaking. The freedom that shorter hemlines offered was continued in a sharp, strapless mini dress – modern in its layered structure – and later in a heavily embellished white shift dress, paired with white go-go boots.

Indeed, there was a simplicity in Slimane’s latest collection. During his tenure as creative, artistic and image director at Celine, it seems he has found great joy in the luxury materials afforded to him. And this is a great example of them – double wool, wool crepe, silk georgette, cashmere and shearling – speaking for themselves in a chocolate brown co-ord in sumptuous leather, a grey pinafore in heavier rewoven fabrics and outrageously striking faux fur (Celine has a strict no-fur policy).

Accessories, too, were polished and refined, with the introduction of the small, square Nino Bag, wider Terence Bag and the Garance Bag – fuss-free baggage for the evening’s necessities. While smart, equestrian influences came through in the Triomphe High Boot and Under the Knee Boot. And, moreso, in the Triomphe Felt Cap – a subversion of Celine’s baseball caps notably shown in its Women Summer 24 collection.

While Slimane pares things back somewhat, the designer is aware of the power of virality. And the scene-stealing white fur coat, quite literally in the shape of a snowball, will no doubt attract attention on our newsfeeds very soon. After all, Slimane might be looking back over five decades, but this is a collection for the modern rebel.

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