Celine menswear spring / summer 2022 show is all sequins and motorbikes

Creative director Hedi Slimane knows how to capture what the new generation wants

For his latest round of menswear at Celine, creative director Hedi Slimane offered a teenage vision of fashion, told on floppy-haired, tall, incredibly skinny models.

Against a backdrop of motorbike riders pulling backflips and 360s off ramps, looking very masculine with bare chests and matte-black crash helmets adorned with the Celine logo, the models that stomped around a set designed by Slimane felt, in comparison, far less defined.

Slimane continued his longtime obsession with male teenage culture that first surfaced as the skinny suits he trailblazed at Dior Homme all those years ago, through his tenure at Saint Laurent and now again at the freshly launched men's division of Celine.

With the new collection's show he offered clothes in XXXL, the exact opposite of the shrunken silhouettes he started with. Rather than precisely outlined, the items were loose and baggy, while hair fell around the shoulders and over faces.

Instead of hip-hugging trousers and skinny ties, jeans were so vast they completely swallowed legs and shoes, and were worn with large music band T-shirts under enormous jackets. The jackets were leather and denim – with and without sleeves – as beautiful suiting, either decorated with safety pins or metal eyelets, or layered under snakeskin blousons.

Pitching at an audience clearly unrestrained by gender boundaries, Slimane offered up looks that were both masculine, such as motorbike-inspired stitched leather jackets, to almost feminine, such as a fine net overskirt worn with jeans, or an ankle-length hobble skirt.

Models wore wraparound sunglasses and delicate jewellery, such as thin chokers and small pendants on fine chains. The denim jackets had crystal decorations on the back, and there were sequins on tops and tuxedo jackets, and even knitwear patterned with images of Dalmatian puppies.

The boys stomped around the runway to a soundtrack (commissioned and produced by Slimane) with vocals by British-American music producer Izzy Camina singing, "You go up and you go down", as the motocross riders did their thing in the background.

Amid the sparkle and voluminous shapes, two things stood out from this show. The first is that Slimane would rather do everything himself rather than let others in on his finely honed vision (he also claimed credit for casting and styling); and second, he still has a knack for capturing a moment.

While many of the clothes did look as though they came from a thrift store, leaving us questioning why they deserved space on the runway, the deft mix of high tailoring, cowboy boots and sparkle was dynamic and fresh.

Many clothes seemed as though they were lifted straight from a teenage boy's wardrobe, but Slimane still managed to upend it all by sending out a model in a billowing cape, in a moment of drama so beautiful one felt like clapping. That reminds us all of the skill of Slimane. He may pick models too young and too skinny, and he may have an obsession with teen culture that is hard to fathom, but his ability to capture what the new generation wants is undimmed.

Updated: July 28th 2021, 12:24 PM
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