"Women should have choices, and women should feel good in what they wear."
This story began with a little shoe. To be more precise, with the shoes crafted for the children by the married Vipiana couple. Céline and Richard founded their boutique in after-WWII France in 1945, without having any professional design experience. Their clients could easily spot the shop on 52 rue Malte by its distinctive red elephant logo, created by the cartoonist Raymont Peynet. Soon the couple's shoes longevity was acknowledged even by the royalty, among whom was Prince Albert of Monaco.
A decade later, there was time for the new chapter of the prêt-à-porter clothes. Céline's idea was to create comfy everyday clothes, without any irrelevant polish. To make this idea come to life, she used at first such fabrics like denim, leather, and wool. After another ten years, the boutique expanded its lines to accessories and fragrances.
Céline Vipiana devoted most of her life to the brand, passing away aged 84 years in 1997. Her legacy was succeeded by the to-become brand's rescuer Michael Kors. Often undeservedly downplayed, his role was crucial for the label's Haute Couture-hood acceptance. Kors managed to find the so-needed Celine's distinctive feature in the luxury sportswear and high-quality materials, by injecting furs and cashmere into the collections. "In a way, if you're a nice kid, no one pays attention to you," Michael Kors had to accept that the path to the pedestal was more complex for such 'nice kids' as Céline. The following four years after his departure were the break-up period of entangled searching and finding oneself.
And the light shone in 2008. Many still connect the name of the brand to Phoebe Philo - whose joining to the Céline team made it stand firm. The British designer was the one who became the Céline's guide into modern reality. Philo's vision was to prioritize minimalism over pomposity but to keep the chic notes. Thus, she carefully constructed a label's identity for the "contemporary strong and powerful" women. The designs and tailoring were smartly hinting at the refined sexiness. It seemed that Philo could guess the shopping preferences of any woman, regardless of their age, status, or nationality.
Before being established at the helm of Céline in 2018, Hedi Slimane led Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Homme. The first thing he saw about since appointment- saying goodbye to the French accent in the Celine name. A minor move for some, the fashionistas saw an evident sign for radical changes right away. They were right: very soon, Slimane sabotaged his counterparts by mega-provocative ultra-glittering and 1980s -inspired SS2019 collection. Moreover, it was the first time in the brand's feminine history when he created the line of menswear. Nevertheless, his idea has been to revive the forgotten "old Vipiana Céline" - with the Parisian bourgeois overtones of ruffles, mini-style and checkered patterns.
As for now, the fashion world has divided into the supporters of Slimane reformative creativity and "the old é" opposers, who would like to see Phoebe Philo back in charge of the brand. Perhaps, only time will show which is the right path: whether the label should continue its journey as sophisticated masculine Celine or revive itself once again as the women's mind reader gentle Céline.