‘Dans Paris’, reads the title card for Hedi Slimane’s latest filmic outing for Celine, presenting the house’s A/W 2022 womenswear collection in lieu of a physical runway show. After a brief sortie to the sunny south of France last season – Slimane’s S/S 2022 collection was shown against the picturesque backdrop of Nice’s famed beachfront avenue Promenade Des Anglais – it sees the Celine woman once again supplanted to her spiritual home city of Paris. 

Juxtapositions have defined Slimane’s tenure at Celine thus far: the insouciance of youth with feats of age-old Parisian craft, masculine with feminine, grit with romance. Here, contrast is envisioned in architecture and interiors, the film’s opening shots cutting between the Romanesque pillars of the historic Hôtel de la Marine – a building conceived in the 18th century by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the architect behind Versailles’ Le Petit Trianon and the ‘epitome of French classicism’, as Celine describes – and the angular modernist columns of an ephemeral ‘architectural pavilion’ showspace created for the film in the grounds of Hôtel des Invalides. (Imagined by Slimane, it is the first new structure of its kind from the house since his inaugural Celine show in 2018, and perhaps hints at a possible return to the runway in coming seasons.)

Celine A/W 2022: A return to Paris

Celine A/W 2022 runway

The film captures the collection between these juxtaposed locations, models striding at once through the lavish gilded interiors of Hôtel de la Marine’s Salons d’Apparat – marking the first time a fashion show or campaign has taken place in the highly decorative rooms since an extensive renovation – and the interior of Slimane’s pavilion, an expansive black-walled space edged with vertical pillars of light. Cut together, it provides an apt backdrop for a collection that distils the designer’s contemporary play on classic Parisian style. 

Such moments of contrast are found in the collection itself, epitomised in the opening look, comprising a caped top – its generosity of fabric and elegant line recalling the abundance of couture – worn with a pair of frayed-hem jeans (a requisite pair of cats-eye sunglasses complete the look). Elsewhere, a wide-shouldered tailored jacket is thrown over a plunging sequined party dress; a Celine-branded technical anorak worn with a glimmering silver pencil skirt; lug-soled biker boots with a high-glamour off-the-shoulder leather mini. A clean-lined riff on the corset top in black appears throughout; worn with jeans or underneath a hoodie, it feels released from connotations with constriction – the past, made new. 

As ever, Slimane also used the moment to highlight a rising musical talent – this season, the soundtrack was created by Hennessey, the musical project of Leah Hennessey, a New York ‘multi-hyphenate artist and writer’. The song itself is titled ‘Byron is Dead’, part of an ongoing obsession with the 19th-century poet by the musician (her upcoming film is titled Byron & Shelley: Illuminati Detectives). Lisa, a member of K-pop band Blackpink, also features in the show itself. §

A/W 2022 runway
A/W 2022 runway