Last January, after it was announced that beloved British designer Phoebe Philo would exit her fixed position at the French label’s helm, the industry speculated who would take over. At the time, there were a few designers without work, but none of them were rumored to be up for the job. Instead, the names of lesser-known, already-employed creatives were on the table: Natasa Cagalj (then of Stella McCartney, now of Port 1961), Celine’s own ready-to-wear design director Michael Rider, Ilaria Icardi of Victoria Beckham, and more. But in the end, the very well-known Hedi Slimane, the previous Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent creative director, took the top spot.
The French designer and photographer known for his piquant aesthetic was an unlikely choice to lead a by-women-for-women brand that celebrated understated luxury. Slimane’s appointment felt like a step backward, and his debut didn’t strike gently. The collection was a rehashing of what he mastered at another label — skin-tight going-out dresses, a helping of leather and sequins, an almost exclusive black color palette — and it took nearly a month for the first look to appear on the red carpet.
But since then, celebrities have warmed up to the new Celine in ways the fashion industry hasn’t. From Lady Gaga to Amandla Stenberg to Dakota Johnson to Natalie Portman and more, the Hollywood crowd and their stylists seem to be into it. (Old Celine was seldom a go-to for stars at step-and-repeats.) It’s an interesting move for red carpet dressing. After all, these very stars were the ones who, earlier this year, joined the #MeToo movement to send strong statements of female empowerment and gender equality with their words, actions, and clothes — not exactly in line with Slimane’s “sexy” aesthetic.
Ahead, we’re keeping tabs on which stars are taking the new Celine for a test drive. Sure, some people could chalk these moments up to nothing more than sequin dresses and stylists who need to make good on their Slimane connection. Or Slimane’s obsession with Hollywood (the Parisian native is based in LA, after all). Or even simpler: famous people just love new stuff.