everything we learned from hedi slimane’s first celine interview

The designer opened up to Le Figaro about his new vision of Celine. We broke it down for you.

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Sep 25 2018, 1:35pm

Image via Celine Instagram

On Friday we’ll finally get to see what Hedi Slimane’s new vision for the house of Celine will be, in what is easily one of the most anticipated fashion moments of recent years. Few designers have as many ardent fans as Hedi Slimane and Phoebe Philo, and the former stepping into shoes vacated by the latter, well, it was bound to cause a bit of consternation. A load of ardent Philophiles, distraught. A load of Slimaniacs ready for Hedi’s return, credit cards at the ready. So far he’s drip fed us, teasing Instagram posts offering tantalizing glimpses of clothes and a new logo. The excitement has been building and building. And now, the man himself has spoken.

In an interview with Le Figaro, translated by Business of Fashion, Hedi has now gone into detail, for the first time, on everything from Phoebe Philo to Donald Trump, from his history to his future, from dropping the accent from the Celine name to his wider plans for the brand.

Here’s what we learned…

On Phoebe Philo’s legacy…
“We don’t enter a fashion house to imitate our predecessor, much less to take over the essence of their work, their codes and elements of language. The goal is not to go the opposite way of their work either. It would be a misinterpretation. Respect means preserving the integrity of each individual, recognizing the things that belong to another person with honesty and discernment. It also means starting a new chapter. We arrive then with our own stories, our own culture, a personal semantic that is different from the ones of houses in which we create. We have to be ourselves, without any stance, against all odds."

And his aesthetic…
“The way I see fashion has always been influenced by a certain classicism, and couture’s legacy, the spirit of Paris, where I was born, where I grew up, day and night. I found my style more than 20 years ago. Unless it’s the other way around. It passes through a line, a stroke, an appearance, a silhouette that I’ve obsessively pursued ever since then, and that defines who I am. It belongs to me, and in return, I am compelled to it.

Consistency, long term accuracy, this is what is meaningful to me. I am committed to the integrity of this route. It will perpetuate at Celine. It’s a lifelong story. The idea is not to derogate from my style, from what made me.”

On his vision for Celine…
“I’ve always been really sensitive regarding this high quality notion, this savoir-faire that is related to the house. In this context, the idea of playing with the bourgeoisie codes is rather interesting. At Celine, the weight of the past is not as heavy as it is at Dior or Saint Laurent. We can break free of it more easily. Celine is a vision of Paris, a way of being worn… I don’t want to lock it up in something. There’s no constraint, no model that is linked to a very important legacy. It’s more of a French idea than a cloakroom. Starting from here, we can coin a vocabulary. What’s important is always now.”

On Celine without an accent…
“This is actually not about marking my territory at all… There’s always affective reactions about the logos. Nowadays it’s even more present due to the viral effect of social media. It’s normal. It was anticipated but it had to be done. The major houses are alive. They must evolve and find the essence of what they truly are. Everything but indifference. We don’t shake things up to be subtle. When there’s no debate, it means there’s no opinion, which brings us to blind conformity.”

On Celine’s Instagram…
“These are first impressions, a portrait gallery of a generation. The photographic portrait always precedes the fashion that I create. I’m not sensitive to beauty but to energy and personality… The casting is key to everything. Couturiers are nothing without their models. I see them as artists. They have the capacity to transform, transcend, give life and justice to our creations… This Celine project is a collective adventure, a community of strong personalities. It’s teamwork. The studio work, the workshop work, and the models’ work.”

On Youth…
“I have always photographed, documented and dressed the youth. It’s been at the heart of everything I’ve done so far, be it in photography or fashion. It rules over my catwalks, house after house. This systematic “millennial” terminology, business school style, with statistics at stake is boring… It’s as if we have just discovered now the slender but fundamental link between youth and fashion, or the substantive link between music and youth… Youth is gracefulness, freedom of speech, and recklessness. The youth is at the same time the lions on the grand boulevards, the cellars of Saint-Germain, the occupied lecture halls of the Sorbonne. I think about the Tricheurs by Marcel Carné, the Chansons d’amour by Christophe Honoré. All the youths of the world are different and yet similar. No matter the time in history, they are pure energy, exaltation, and emotion, living the fast life.”

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.