Celine SPRING 2021 MENSWEAR
Hedi Slimane’s long-teased collection The Dancing Boy crossed the starting line for viewers on Celine.com, Instagram and Youtube today with a long drone shot hovering over the deserted Circuit Paul Ricard motor racing track in the South of France. Cameras then zoomed in to track solitary boys walking the Formula 1 lanes—the opener to a film made by Slimane as his salute to how teens in bedrooms all over the world have been posting solitary TikTok performances during the pandemic.
Both clothes and atmosphere read as consolation for all the festivals that didn’t happen in 2020—and a celebration of an unputdownable generation that has forged its own mass youth movement and overnight stars through the new medium that Donald Trump hates most. Subtitled “A teen romance,” Slimane described the show (which was filmed on July 19th) in a follow-up email as “A ‘documentary’ collection spanning E boys and current skate culture” and “a candid portrait of a generation that took advantage of the confinement to assert itself and emancipate itself creatively.” It was their music too—a Celine-commissioned 15-minute edit of 22-year-old Canadian rapper Tiagz’s TikTok- famed “They call me Tiago (Her name was Margo).”
As a designer with a lifelong obsession with layering youth references of the past into his work, Slimane was in his element, finally being able to riff off the energy—and the wardrobes—of a live subculture. The whole thing had been designed in St. Tropez “well before March,” the concept triggered by Slimane’s signing of TikTok teen idol Noen Eubanks as a face of the Celine campaign last year. An air of deliberately unaffected grungy thrown-together casualness—“the new adolescent codes” as Slimane put it—was forensically observed and replicated: oversized cardigans, printed jersey skater shorts, beanies, tiger-print sequined trackies, varsity jackets, sleazy ’80s patchworked blousons, giant knitted ponchos—and was that a pair of polka-dot pajama bottoms in there?
Hearing that this pile-up of pieces that might’ve been found on a kid’s bedroom floor is not exactly what grown-ups perceive as the output of a luxury goods house would be music to Slimane’s ears. Annoying the elders is his delight. Yet he’s a designer who cannily has it both ways. While there’s so much that’s accessible in the way of accessories—and bold Celine logo-ing on bags make a direct pitch to the money-spinning hypebeast market—Slimane’s signature tailoring was slipped in there, too: a suit with pleated high-waist trousers, a gold tiger-patterned sequined rockstar jacket. Anyone looking for signs of elevated Parisian hand-craft might detect it in the neon glow-in-the-dark palm trees embroidered on the backs of a couple of jackets: “A nod to the LED lights that invariably decorate the bedrooms of teenagers the world over,” said Slimane.
Largely, though, it was a show set to appeal to a different (gigantic) audience in what now feels like a very different era from the one in which Celine showed its last physical fashion show to that traditionally packed tent of industry insiders in March. Yet it was also interlaced with hope and energy: maybe one day next summer, all those boys will be out dancing together again at raves and festivals, looking just like this.
See every single look from Celine SPRING 2021 MENSWEAR Collection in the gallery, below :