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Hedi Slimane gives his first interview as the head of Celine

Here are the key takeaways
The notoriously elusive Hedi Slimane has just revealed his vision for Celine in an incredibly rare interview...

There’s just a couple of days left until Hedi Slimane makes his long-awaited and highly anticipated debut for Celine during Paris Fashion Week. In the lead-up to the show, the brand and the designer have kept communication to an all-time minimum, instead using Instagram to tease the brand’s new vision. From the first handbag to the updated logo, there’s been plenty to talk about and now, Hedi has given his very first (and potentially only, if history is any indication) interview as the Artistic Director of the French house. The designer spoke exclusively with Laurence Benaïm for French magazine Le Figaro, and the English translation appears in full on Business of Fashion. Here’s five things we learnt…

One: He has no plans to relocate to Europe full-time just yet

“I am thinking about it. I still haven’t made up my mind. I arrived in California in 2008, already very attracted to Los Angeles, where I used to go regularly since the end of the 1990s. I would start all my Dior collections there in my hotel room. The city was still asleep, it was perfect to fill in a blank page. There was no creative or artistic stimulation yet, nor was there a rise of a strong music taste. This became clearer later, after 2008. Barack Obama’s presidential victory played an important role. It boded well for the future. On the contrary, Donald Trump’s election created quite a strong uncertain environment that is hard to escape. California joined the resistance but the energy has fatally changed. I’m still living in Los Angeles, but it’s different.”

Two: His vision is distinctly different to Phoebe Philo’s but he will respect her creations

“Our respective styles are identifiable and very different. Our vision is naturally distinct. Besides, we don’t enter a fashion house to imitate our predecessor, much less to take over the essence of their work, their codes and elements of language. The goal is not to go the opposite way of their work either. It would be a misinterpretation. Respect means preserving the integrity of each individual, recognize the things that belong to another person with honesty and discernment, it also means starting a new chapter. We arrive then with our own stories, our own culture, a personal semantic that is different from the ones of houses in which we create. We have to be ourselves, without any stance, against all odds.”

Three: Celine’s new vision is about creating a way of life

“…at Celine, the weight of the past is not as heavy as it is at Dior or Saint Laurent. We can break free of it more easily. Celine is a vision of Paris, a way of being worn… I don’t want to lock it up in something. There’s no constraint, no model that is linked to a very important legacy. It’s more of a French idea than a cloakroom. Starting from here, we can coin a vocabulary.” 

Four: He values models as more than simply men and women who wear his clothes on the runway

“Couturiers are nothing without their models. I see them as artists. They have the capacity to transform, transcend, give life and justice to our creations. Indeed, if a dress that I particularly enjoy doesn’t have a body that wears it, it won’t make it to the catwalk because it’s not embodied.”

Five: Removing the accent from the brand’s name wasn’t a power play

“This is actually not about marking my territory at all…There’s always affective reactions about the logos. Nowadays it’s even more present due to the viral effect of social media. It’s normal. It was anticipated but it had to be done. The major houses are alive. They must evolve and find the essence of what they truly are. Everything but indifference. We don’t shake things up to be subtle.” 

Now, learn more about the location for Slimane’s debut this week