“I have nostalgia for things I probably have never known.” The slogan embroidered on one of the big straw totes on the Celine runway could well summarize Hedi Slimane’s design ethos, though he would probably dispute that.
Suffice it to say that his childhood heroes — David Bowie, Serge Gainsbourg and The Clash, to name a few — are largely to credit for his trademark androgynous, elongated silhouettes. And with the designer working a Seventies groove, those influences loomed large over his spring men’s collection.
The sentence in question was actually borrowed from a painting by David Kramer, one of five artists who collaborated with Slimane this season, alongside Zach Bruder, André Butzer, Darby Milbrath and Carlos Valencia. “My own worst enemy,” read another — though we’ll resist the temptation to analyze that.
Paired with a pinstripe jacket, denim shirt and flares, aviator shades and white shoes, the straw bag had a distinctly Gainsbourgian panache. Those high-waisted faded jeans were worn with everything from a shrunken leather bomber jacket to a seersucker tuxedo coat — picture the Rolling Stones recording “Exile on Main Street” in the south of France.
Items like dungarees, straw boater hats and a gold lamé jacket brought to mind another musical icon, though Slimane may shirk the association: Elton John, who is enjoying a critical reappraisal thanks to the success of his biopic “Rocketman.”
A candy-cane stripe sequined blazer, or a bomber jacket densely embroidered after one of Milbrath’s paintings, might have appealed to a younger version of the notoriously shopaholic singer — although these days, John has famously aligned himself with Alessandro Michele’s maximalist Gucci aesthetic.
Leave the Slimane look to the new generation of rockers, scenesters and hipsters who gravitate to his orbit: front-row guests like Miles Kane, or up-and-comers like the Brooklyn-based post-punk band Bodega, who composed “Name Escape,” the hypnotic song that served as the soundtrack.
Chances are, their wardrobes are already bursting with the vintage originals that inspired Slimane’s studied aesthetic. Though why settle on a musty relic, when Celine can deliver old-school rock star allure in new season’s clothing?