PARIS — On Friday night in Paris, as the moon rose over the gold arch of Napoleon’s tomb in Les Invalides and a behemothic atramentous box distinctively complete in its backyard loomed in the shadows, Hedi Slimane, the much-admired, much-decried artist who larboard Yves Saint Laurent in 2016 and whose apparition had been addictive appearance anytime since, fabricated his acknowledgment to the catwalk.
He did it beneath the advocacy of the abode of Celine, and he did it with Celine-branded Champagne miniatures and a (literal) drumroll, acknowledgment to associates of the Republican Guard. He did it with a distinctively complete accomplishments of his own architecture fabricated from transmuting argent squares that looked like they had beamed in from planet Krypton. He did it with 96 looks on concave, angular boys and cranky, baby-faced girls.
And fashion, which had been on the bend of its seat, fell off. Déjà vu! It was disorienting: what year was this? But at atomic some questions had been answered.
For those who, aloft audition that Mr. Slimane had been called Lord Chief Overseer (O.K.: artistic, artistic and angel director) of Celine, feared that the canicule aback this cast authentic what it meant to be a smart, adult, self-sufficient, aggressive and alluringly aberrant woman were at an end — you were right.
For those who afraid that maybe, afterwards reinventing Dior Homme in his own Thin Dark Duke image, and Saint Laurent in the appearance of abandoned morning-after Los Angeles teenagers, conceivably Mr. Slimane did not accept addition cast eyes in him — you were right, too.
And for those who asked whether cast Hedi would booty antecedence over cast Celine — well, yup.
None of this was absolutely surprising. Nor was the actuality that the accumulating was about absolutely in atramentous and white, additional a bit of gold and silver, with a birr of blooming and red befuddled in. Or that for girls, it mostly consisted of cool abbreviate 1980s babyish baby brawl dresses with brownish poufs, motorcycle eros and some actual glossy dressmaking (oh — and one brace of billowing acid-washed jeans with a little fur chubby).
Or that for boys, it was the dressmaking again: attenuated pleated trousers hiked aerial on the waist and circumscribed in at the ankle; acid jackets, both double- and single-ed, continued and short; angular ties.
Or that the appropriate appropriate amid the two was mainly atramentous trapezoidal glasses for the boys and little haute flea-market fascinator veils for the girls. Additional some accurately common alternation handbags. Mr. Slimane has done all this before.
It was the aspect of his YSL, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, aloof as he rechristened Céline as Celine, bottomward the accent. In both cases, Mr. Slimane was activity aback to an beforehand apotheosis of the logo, because — well, it was never absolutely clear. Because he could.
It awash actual able-bodied for YSL. Celine’s owners are apparently d it will do the aforementioned for them. If they accept to cede all that the cast acclimated to angle for in the process, so be it. It’s fashion! Things change.
Except not Mr. Slimane. Generally, aback designers hop from ancestry abode to ancestry abode they accomplish some nod to that heritage. Celine’s has been fuzzier than most, accepted — it doesn’t accept the aforementioned logo totems or architecture iconography. And aback Mr. Slimane’s predecessor, Phoebe Philo, arrived, she, too, swept abroad what had been before. Remember that? Didn’t anticipate so. It wasn’t much, which was why she could.
But she gave Celine an character that for women meant a abundant deal, because it was acutely for them, not an angel of them bent in a atramentous and white photo of aback alleys and nightclubs and the accident done afterwards dusk.
And it does beg the question: Why not aloof accord Mr. Slimane a cast beneath his own name? That’s finer what’s happened here. Why not aloof alarm it what it is? Why barrier your bets with a pseudonym?
For a while, it was accessible to authority out achievement that Mr. Slimane ability accept lived up to all the advertising about his reputation. That instead of repeating himself, he absolutely would accept been able to advance his faculty of anatomy into article new; article that batten added abundantly to those with multidimensional lives. It’s attenuate for a artist to be able to change how bodies use dress to accurate themselves added than already in their career — Yves Saint Laurent (the man) did it, but he was an outlier. It turns out Mr. Slimane isn’t. He had his moment. It mattered. Now he’s aloof reliving it.
Will the blow of us appetite to, also? The whippetlike suiting, which will be accessible appropriately for women as able-bodied as men (though the analysis does not administer to dresses): yes. But the pouty, infantilizing blow of it? The abridgement of assortment of any kind? No, acknowledge you.
Two years ago aback Mr. Slimane ancient fashion, the apple was a altered place. Women were different. Hell, they were altered a few canicule ago. They accept confused on. But he has not.
And it meant that, admitting an admirers awash with rock’s hipster elite, the lyrics that best came to apperception were Mamma Mia! Actuality we go again.
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