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  • Miles Socha

Celine Women’s RTW Fall 2021

This confident and approachable collection had a strong French accent, with touches of English countryside.

“Youth interrupted” are the poignant words that leap out from the show notes for Celine’s fall collection, a nod to pandemic-related lockdowns and shorthand for the famous quote of Charles Baudelaire also cited: “My youth has been nothing but a tenebrous storm, pierced now and then by rays of brilliant sunshine.”

Hedi Slimane took his drone cameras to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, a cradle of French style, to capture his young models striding through the stunning formal gardens by André Le Nôtre, a strong wind whipping their hair and the spray of fountains, droplets sparkling like diamonds in the intermittent sun. They seemed as lost in their thoughts as the stone statues, though each had a luxury handbag tucked under her arm or dangling from her wrist.

Here was a fast-cut fashion video that made a compelling case for the hobo, from versions of the compact Ava model that Blackpink’s Lisa Manoban has been showing off on her Instagram account (50.3 million followers) to big and slouchy styles, sometimes with a tuft of shearling hugging the shoulder.

The clothes were equally to the point: roomy blazers in rustic men’s wear fabrics, outerwear and shoes nodding to the English hunting wardrobe, and bourgeois classics mixed in a freewheeling way with hoodies, ball caps and jeans with blown-out knees. Slimane reined in logos and branding to headwear and sunglasses and let French-girl style do the seducing.

This was a confident and approachable collection, styled to achieve an offhand chic. Echoing his men’s fall collection, there were voluptuous leather bomber jackets, handsome herringbone coats and terrific shearling and leather vests. Eye-catching items included jumbo-leg jeans, sexy one-shouldered tops and bubble-shaped blousons in khaki and army green.

As the show progressed, the eyes reeling from the strobe-light fast editing, Slimane began introducing sparkly dresses and stiff, bell-shaped skirts like a Disney princess might wear. Lo and behold, the film ends with a model wearing one of those skirts and staring wistfully at the palace at dusk. A young deer steps into the frame, fireworks erupt over the building and a tear rolls down her freckled check.

Youth interrupted, but with a celebration in view.


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