Hedi Slimane has long swaggered into androgyny. It was, after all, part of his Midas touch at Dior Homme in the early-’00s, where he introduced the skinny silhouette and reinvented menswear in an era of guitars, pints and Camden basements.
Eschewing the baggy, ill-fitted suits and low-rise jeans of the time, Slimane nipped the proportions in in favour of a slicker, sexier image, embracing shorter crops, tighter crotches and just a little hip action. His “new look” transformed how men dressed; no longer concealing the figure but suddenly enhancing, his menswear embraced the bodily codes usually reserved for womenswear.
But that was 20 years ago. Now, Slimane’s case for androgyny evolves further with his latest Celine Homme collection, titled Delusional Daydream, and presented as a film (it was originally scheduled to be shown in Paris in July, but was rescheduled due to the city’s pension reform protests).
After a brief cloud of smoke wafts over the screen, and the first electric crashes of LCD Soundsystem’s 2005 debut Losing My Edge kicks off, a satin halter-neck with ruffled detailing, worn with super-tight leather trousers, takes Slimane’s sartorial mission from the early-’00s and cranks it up a few notches.
It goes further, with a shimmery gold cardigan revealing a bare torso, loosely tied in the middle. A tight, cropped vest and another halterneck follow, this time a loose triangle of black fabric tied around the neck, revealing the upper half of the back. There’s glam rock in a heavily embellished bomber, and cutesy details with bows fastening down the middle of a long-sleeve blouse.
Slimane’s flagship leather is tighter this season, more fitted to the body and cropped to the belly button in some cases, while tailoring is featured heavily throughout. Where the designer typically opts for shadowy black two-pieces, this time it’s taken on an optimistic spin in metallic silver, houndstooth and squeaky clean white pinstripe.
Slimane says this collection is dedicated to New York’s young music scene; those found in the city’s “Dimes Square”, where alternative musicians such as The Dare, Frost Children and Blaketheman1000 are taking old sounds and making new rackets for listeners under the age of 25. This latest collection by Slimane, then, feels relevant to a generation hell-bent on questioning – taking old rules and opting to break them for the modern wearer.