Celine A/W 2019 Paris Fashion Week Men’s
Scene setting: The setting for Hedi Slimane’s first standalone menswear show for the brand was a ginormous black box, installed at the Place de la Concorde. With the shimmering Eiffel Tower on full view, the blurry early evening traffic snaking up the Champs-Élysées became the backdrop to the event. The unmistakable elegant ferocity of the city, with its respect and tradition for couture, craftsmanship and savoir faire, is encapsulated in Slimane’s allure. A giant globe made up of fluorescent tubes was positioned at the end of the catwalk. It fizzled gently as Mozart played loud. As the show began, the sculpture hovered up the catwalk; the first model swung around on a turntable floor and marched with certainty. They were alive and vibrant, inside the most alluring city in the world.
Mood board: Working at Dior in the early 00s shaped much of everything that has followed for Slimane. The designer has spent a lot of time in London since that period, documenting an emerging indie music scene which has shaped his proclivity for a lean, tailored silhouette. ‘I have maintained a strong connection to Britain and predominantly British music. I had been listening to some interesting new music coming out of the UK. A resurgence of the new wave and post punk sound, and initially returned there to photograph some of these inspiring young musicians,’ he wrote in a statement post-show. A/W 2019 was entitled ‘Polaroids of the British youth’ – an ode to a host of young musicians and bands who continue to play in small, dark venues across the city dressed like their post punk heroes. Sharp double breasted suits had relaxed leg trousers that ran to the ankle. The line is more relaxed than Slimane is known for, but had the rock ’n’ roll rigour for which he is revered. There was a fine pinstripe on navy suiting, a camel coat with a bold shoulder, minimalist Argyle knits and slim chic biker jackets with unfussy patches. A sports bomber had a soft leather shoulder in white. The metier of couture was here across everything – coats had braiding detailing at seams; evening jackets in crystal coated jacquard had post-baroque bang.
Best in show: This is new classicism rooted in couture. Tweeds, donegals and cashmere overcoats were worn over tailored suits. Of course, there were slim leather pants. A biker jacket had a checkerboard lapel and studded sleeves with a zip at the elbow. Stand out were a range of hi-shine or tasselled loafers and smart lace-up boots. Artworks used in the collection were by David Hominal, Anneli Henriksson and Cody Defranco. The show ended with a performance from the saxophonist James Chance. A key ﬁgure in No Wave, Chance has been playing a combination of improvisational jazz-like music around the New York music scene since the late 1970s. The deep, brassy cry signalled the end of the A/W 2019 shows and the start of a new dawn.