As an immersive fashion experience, Hedi Slimane’s fall men’s show for Celine had it all: the louche, if-these-walls-could-talk atmosphere of mythical Paris discotheque Le Palace; a stage outfitted with dazzling, mechanical pyrotechnics; a front row packed with rock and pop royalty; an up-for-it crowd of cool kids dressed to impress in the balconies, and a cast of intriguing characters stalking the runway in their tight, sparkling leathers, leaving a trail of Celine’s Nightclubbing perfume.
Slimane has always drawn energy from, and meticulously documented, various music scenes, and here paid tribute to the 2000s’ electroclash and electronic rock movements, and cult New York synth punk band Suicide, who provided an extended version of the track “Girl” as a hypnotic, droning soundtrack.
You could also read the collection as something of a mash-up of some of Slimane’s music idols in the room: Pete Doherty with his overcoat, fedora and adorable pet husky, seemingly as comfortable in a crowded, noisy nightclub as he is; Étienne Daho in head-to-toe black, and Jack White, pale as ever and his hair slicked back.
Blackpink’s Lalisa Manobal, who caused pandemonium when she appeared at a Celine men’s show last June, slipped into her seat without much notice. The people-watching was that good.
When the models started picking their way down the stairs in pointy-toed, block-heeled boots and weaved their way through the tightly packed rows, your mind also went to the gorgeous glitterati that made Le Palace legendary in the late ’70s and ’80s — the likes of Mick Jagger, Serge Gainsbourg, Karl Lagerfeld, Prince, Grace Jones, Yves Saint Laurent and his muse Betty Catroux, whose gangly figure and offhand cool — eyes forever shielded by dark glasses and heavy bangs — was felt in almost every exit.
The fashion message was not so new, but direct as a bullet as always: Guys, it’s time to invest in some tight leather pants, and a leather biker jacket or blouson spangled with rhinestones, glinting with studs, or trimmed with animal prints. If it’s a cold night, they can toss on a tweed overcoat, or a demonstrative, fluffy animal-print coat made from shearling cashmere.
Mixed in was some more approachable fare: youthful pin-striped suits with flared pant legs, some tiger-print corduroys and a beige raincoat with a reptilian pattern etched in.
Those not on deadline could live the Palace experience until 3 a.m., taking in performances by The Murder Capital and The Libertines before making their way to the basement for DJ sets.