The Brand To Emulate: Celine
The Brand To Emulate: Celine

The Brand To Emulate: Celine

Still one of the most coveted brands in fashion, Celine’s continued influence on the industry is undeniable. Here’s what you need to know about the label, its history and its aesthetic – plus, how to get the look whatever your budget.

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The Background

Founded in 1945, and owned by LVMH since the mid-90s, it wasn’t until Phoebe Philo took the helm between 2008 and 2018 that Celine established itself as one of the world’s most revered fashion houses out there. During this time, Philo asserted her characteristically minimal aesthetic, with clean lines and a tonal colour palette. After Philo’s departure in December 2017, it was announced that Hedi Slimane (former creative director of Yves Saint Laurent) would replace her.

The Aesthetic

From the start, it was clear the new creative director wanted to make his presence felt: he controversially dropped the accent from the Celine logo and set about adding his moody, indie rock influences to the brand’s minimal look. 

Not everyone liked the idea of this new direction. Slimane’s debut collection, complete with 80s glam minis, studded leather and feathered frocks, was a far cry from Philo’s masculine-meets-feminine aesthetic and fans bemoaned the stark contrast, comparing the collection to Slimane’s past work at Yves Saint Laurent. Defying this initial resistance, Slimane has steered Celine to new heights. These days, the brand’s preppy elements are matched with retro sports influences – it's respectful of the classic Parisian look, with contrasting, laidback pieces that create a universe of effortless nonchalance. 

The Show

Shown in October 2020, Celine’s SS21 collection had a seismic influence on the preppy-meets-collegiate trend that still dominates the fashion landscape today. In Monaco’s Stade Louis II, models strutted down the athletics track in a deserted stadium (in line with Covid-19 restrictions at the time) complete with hands in pockets and a slouched posture, embodying a youthful, blasé mood. While much of Celine’s bourgeois heritage was evident, Slimane gave timeless pieces like blazers and bouclé jackets a dressing down with baseball caps, loose jeans, bucket hats and jogger pants. Post-lockdown, Slimane has recognised that consumers (at least younger ones) are no longer interested in dressing formally, and continued to encourage the marriage of sporty influences with classic ones. 

The Trends

There can be no doubt Celine’s accessories have significantly contributed to the brand’s cult status. Most recently, the Triomphe bag, belt and logo-emblazoned cap have all inspired numerous replicas, while the basketball-inspired high-top trainer continues to sell out in every size. As for the clothes, plenty will have noticed the trickle-down effect of the varsity-style sweatshirts, hoodies and bomber jackets – all of which can readily be found on the high street, proving the sportswear trend is going nowhere.

The Look

There’s a bit of a ‘fashion uniform’ that’s developed over the past couple of years. Championed by the likes of Felicia Akerstrom and Camille Charrière, it usually involves at least two of the following: an oversized coat or jacket, a loose-fitting trouser or jean, a sweatshirt or hoodie and either a pair of trainers or a chunky loafer – not forgetting a baseball cap or sunglasses to complete the look. 

Much of this look can be attributed to Celine and fortunately, it’s easy to replicate, whatever your budget. Check out Mango for boxy cross-body bags and preppy bouclé cardis, while COS and Arket offer reliable, elevated basics like striped tees and blazers. The key is to balance the smarter elements with more relaxed pieces – try wearing a blazer with joggers or throwing on a bomber jacket with jeans and loafers. If in doubt, adding a baseball cap to an otherwise simple look will inject a bit of Celine-inspired cool.

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