Last month, when Phoebe Philo announced she was leaving Céline after a decade, it resulted in a lot of questions. The most common one being, who would take over at the French fashion house? Now, it's official, Hedi Slimane is joining Céline on February 1 as artistic, creative, and image director.
The French photographer and fashion designer is a surprising choice for the fashion brand known for its ready-to-wear female fashion, since he's best known for menswear. He headed up Dior Homme for seven years from 2000, establishing a signature rock and roll aesthetic centred on a skinny silhouette for men. In 2012, he returned to Yves Saint Laurent where he was in charge of the womenswear and menswear collections and controversially renamed the storied fashion house Saint Laurent.
Perhaps, his eye for men's fashion is why Slimane will help Céline branch out into menswear, couture, and fragrance when he joins the company. WWD reported that Céline's first men's store will open in 2019 and Slimane could release his first fragrance before the end of the year.
In a statement, Slimane said he was "delighted" to join this "this all-embracing and fascinating mission for Céline. I greatly look forward to returning to the exciting world of fashion and the dynamism of the ateliers.”
It was a similar sentiment from LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault, who previously worked with Slimane at Dior. “I am particularly happy that Hedi is back within the LVMH Group and taking the reins of our Céline maison,” he said. “He is one of the most talented designers of our time. I have been a great admirer of his work since we collaborated on Dior Homme, which he launched to global critical acclaim in the 2000s. His arrival at Céline reinforces the great ambitions that LVMH has for this maison.”
Karl Lagerfeld — who reportedly slimmed down to fit into Slimane's slim designs — was also overjoyed with the new hiring, according to WWD he said, “I am enchanted, what a great choice. It will be great.”