Hedi Slimane’s tenure at Celine has been defined by contrast, melding the insouciant spirit of youth with breathtaking feats of luxury and craft. A new collection cements his commitment to Parisian savoir-faire, celebrating the art of maroquinerie – leather-making – with Celine Haute Maroquinerie, a series of artisan-made leather goods which centre around versions of the house’s two signature handbags, the 16 and the Triomphe. 

Leather is embedded in the history of Celine; founder Céline Vipiana began the eponymous house by creating made-to-measure ‘haute couture’ footwear for children, before expanding to women’s shoes, then accessories, and finally, clothing. Here, Slimane looks towards these haute couture roots – following his reintroduction of Celine Couture and Haute Parfumerie to the house – with pieces in the Haute Maroquinerie collection cut from a single leather hide, the process beginning only once a client has placed their order (in keeping with this singular approach, a sole artisan will work on each). 

‘This offering reaffirms artisanal excellence while establishing a rapport with an object that is at once cultural, personal and rare,’ say the house. Closures, clasps and hardware come in 18-karat gold, occasionally accented with diamonds, and the final product is delivered to the client in a custom-made panelled eucalyptus box. 

The 16 and Triomphe handbags, the first arrivals from the collection, are deeply embedded in Slimane’s vision for Celine. The former marked his debut handbag for the house and is named for the couture atelier at 16 Rue Vivienne, drawing inspiration from classic Celine bags from the 1960s; the latter is another early introduction, a slim, flap-top handbag decorated with a recognisable closure adapted from the house’s archives (its design reimagines the ‘heraldic’ chain motif circling Paris’ La Place de l’Étoile). 

Each of these Haute Maroquinerie handbags is an extraordinary demonstration of craft, taking hours of intricate workmanship to perfect (the 16 takes 17 hours to complete, the Triomphe 12 hours). As such, they are finished with a mark of true authenticity and prestige: the Celine Haute Maroquinerie signature. §