After outcry, Hedi Slimane U-turns on the Celine catwalk

Hedi Slimane showed off his Fall/Winter 2019/2020 collection. AFP
Updated 02 March 2019

After outcry, Hedi Slimane U-turns on the Celine catwalk

PARIS: Head designer Hedi Slimane turned his back on black Friday in one of the biggest about-turns in years on the Paris catwalk, as French-Algerian actress Leila Bekhti enjoyed a coveted front row seat at the show.

The actress wore a suave menswear suit to the show, complete with a skinny black tie and loafers. 

The superstar French designer, who is of Tunisian descent and is famed for his love of black, was dubbed the “Trump of fashion” after trashing the legacy of his much-loved feminist predecessor at Celine, Phoebe Philo, in his first women’s show for the brand in Octobe, AFP reported.

Rather than the too-cool-for-school night owls of his “Paris at night” debut, Slimane went all bourgeois as he tried to double back toward Celine’s more romantic roots.

His new cool gang are a glammy 1980s horsey set, with pleated riding skirts in earthy browns, greens and taupes worn with long shiny boots.

But the really big takeaway was the comeback of the culotte, with a whole cavalry charge of them galloping down the catwalk.

Surprising as that was, no one had predicted the return of silky pussy bow blouses worn under sensible coats and cardigans.

The man they once called the “Sultan of skinny” even got a few frilly blouses in too. All that was lacking was the pearls.

This embrace of romantic, comfortable country glamor, of the type that Hermes and others do rather well, left critics scratching their heads, with the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman asking, “(The) joke’s on who?“

But for the fact that every model wore black sunglasses, it hardly looked like a Slimane show.

It also seemed strangely at odds with Slimane’s first media campaign for the house, which he released this week, featuring 17-year-old British model Hannah Motler.

Shot by Slimane itself, it was full of the dark rock ‘n’ roll glamor he is famous for.

Friedman, however, had no doubt that the oxblood shearling-edged thigh-high boots that Slimane teamed with jeans and camel coats and capes in the show were a winner.

“Betcha Celine is going to sell a lot of these boots,” she tweeted.

While there was some slight nods to the Philo’s legion of grieving followers — who have made her past Celine collections collector’s items — Slimane leapfrogged over her minimalism to go deep into the brand’s archives in search of inspiration.

His slash and burn attitude to the brand — getting rid of the French accent on its logo, calling his first show “Celine 01” as if the 70 years before his arrival at the label had not existed, and erasing Philo’s clothes from the label’s Instagram account, irritated many.

His first collection took an unprecedented kicking from English-speaking critics in particular, with social media spats between his defenders — the Slimaniacs — and Philo supporters, the Philophiles.

Slimane — who has a record of turning labels into cash cows — has form in ruffling feathers. He dropped the Yves from Saint Laurent when he took over at the iconic house in 2012.


Kanye West announces 2020 presidential run

Updated 05 July 2020

Kanye West announces 2020 presidential run

WASHINGTON: Kanye West, the entertainment mogul, announced on Saturday he is challenging Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020.

“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION,” the rapper tweeted as Americans marked Independence Day.

He offered no further details on his campaign, four months before the November election.

West long ago broke ranks with most of the left-leaning entertainment industry to loudly voice his support for Trump.

In 2018, they met in the Oval Office – a surreal tete-a-tete that included a hug from the rapper as well as an on-camera rant featuring an expletive not often repeated for the White House press corps.

That year, West also delivered a lengthy soliloquy to a president who many deem racist, telling him he loved him – to the dismay of many Democrats and fellow artists.

But in 2019, during an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1 show, he said his support for Trump had been a way to razz Democrats – and announced his own presidential ambitions.

“There will be a time when I will be the president of the US, and I will remember... any founder that didn't have the capacity to understand culturally what we were doing.”

The announcement came days after West  released a new song, “Wash Us In the Blood,” along with an accompanying video including imagery from recent anti-racism protests.

Since 2018, his wife, reality star Kim Kardashian West, has formed her own contacts with the White House as she champions criminal justice reform: she has successfully lobbied Trump to pardon a sexagenarian woman for a non-violent drug offense.

For weeks now Trump, criticized for his response both to the coronavirus pandemic and to anti-racism protests, has been lagging in the polls behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

There was no immediate response to West’s announcement from either candidate Saturday.