Hedi Slimane returns to teenage haunt Le Palace for latest Celine menswear show

Legendary Parisian nightspot Le Palace – frequented by Celine creative director Hedi Slimane since he was 16 – provided the setting for the designer’s A/W 2023 menswear show

Double image of two models on Celine runway in black outfits and sunglasses
Celine Homme A/W 2023
(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

Parisian nightspot Le Palace – housed in a former 17th-century theatre – has long provided a hedonistic haven for the international beau monde since its inception as a nightclub by impresario Fabrice Emaer in 1978. The years that followed saw a slew of regulars from the worlds of fashion and celebrity; among them Yves Saint Laurent, Grace Jones, Karl Lagerfeld, Andy Warhol and Jerry Hall, who mingled freely with Parisian partygoers dressed in exuberant turn-of-the-1980s attire. Such was its reputation, it has been deemed Paris’ Studio 54. 

It was also a haunt for a teenage Hedi Slimane, the French designer and creative director of Celine, who yesterday evening (10 February 2023) returned to Le Palace to show his A/W 2023 menswear collection for the house. A note sent prior to the event said that he frequented the club ‘most nights of his youth, starting from the age of 16’ and that it held particular sentimental value for the designer, whose work has often drawn on the rebellious spirit of adolescence during his tenures at Dior Homme, Saint Laurent and currently at Celine. So formative were nights at Le Palace for Slimane, he celebrated his 50th birthday there in 2018 with a surprise party. ‘[Le Palace] triggered his future as a couturier,’ said the collection notes.

Celine Homme A/W 2023 at Le Palace, Paris

Man on Celine runway in studded biker jacket and leather trousers

Celine Homme A/W 2023 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

The show itself was titled ‘Paris Syndrome’ – a reference to the disorder which occurs to visitors to Paris when they realise the city isn’t what they expected, causing delusions and hallucinations – and soundtracked by Suicide, the seminal 1970s New York electronic band fronted by Alan Vega (the late musician’s artworks also featured across the collection). Rising to fame at punk nightclub CBGB, Vega and Martin Rev – the band’s instrumentalist who here created an original composition for the show – were known for their live performances, which would often descend into riots (The Guardian has noted of Suicide’s ‘malevolent ambience [and] pulsating electronics’ that crowds were ‘incapable of processing the sounds they heard’). ‘Everybody came in to see Suicide to be entertained,’ Vega is quoted as saying in the collection notes. ‘And all we did was give them back the street, in all its glory.’

The latter statement is equally apt for Slimane’s own approach, which draws heavily on archetypal garments – the leather jacket, the jean, the narrow New Wave suit – reflected back on the runway in the designer’s singular style. Here, he traced a link from the 1970s to the 2000s, the latter a period in which Slimane first rose to prominence at Dior Homme, and one from which his recent indie-inspired collections for Celine have drawn (his S/S 2023 womenswear collection, presented last November, imagined an ‘indie summer’, a ‘renaissance of [his] 2000s era’ and was soundtracked by noughties indie band The Libertines). ‘Hedi Slimane delves into today’s youth’s rediscovery of the 2000s electro-clash and electronic rock sounds and scenes,’ Celine said of yesterday’s collection.

Man on Celine runway in furry animal print coat and dark glasses

Celine Homme A/W 2023

(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

Central to this mood, Slimane noted, was a series of ‘double leather’ looks which saw biker and racer jackets paired with black leather pants in the lean silhouette for which the designer is known. A proliferation of studs and rhinestones appeared throughout, while other embellishment – a beaded trompe l’oeil bow on jacket, slices of animal print, shimmering tassels – recalled the louche insouciance of Le Palace partygoers in its 1970s heyday (as did Slimane’s hallmark dark sunglasses, which appeared on almost every model). Celine’s synonymy with luxury and craft was channelled in oversized outerwear, cut from cashmere or English tweed created on traditional looms, while embroidery was done by hand in the house’s couture atelier. This season’s tailoring saw proportions slightly raised, with gently flared trousers cropped at the ankle.

In a playful nod to the collection’s setting, each look was completed with a spritz of Celine’s ‘Nightclubbing’ Haute Parfumerie fragrance, a heady scent of galbanum, vanilla, musk and patchouli created by Slimane to evoke ‘an electric atmosphere with accents of nicotine... somewhere between the scent of crimson velvet seats and the sensuality of the nape of a neck fragrant with vanilla,’ according to the house. ‘A perfume for night birds fed by the memory of Parisian nights.’


Man on Celine runway in black leather jacket and leather trousers

Celine Homme A/W 2023

(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.