Celebrities steal the limelight from creative directors?
On June 26, Celine, a French luxury brand under LVMH, released the 2023 spring and summer men’s collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week. In the previous two years, Celine has achieved success with the new series released in the form of short video clips. In the absence of the physical fashion show, Celine has completed a classic brand turn.
The arrival of Celine’s global endorser LISA of Korean idol group Blackpink, and Korean stars Kim Taehyung V and Park Bo Gum of BTS sparked a huge uproar, with thousands of fans gathered outside the show screaming outside the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where the show is located. Shout out to LISA and the other two stars.
Such a grand occasion alarmed Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH. He and Sidney Toledano, chief executive of LVMH Group, went out to check what was going on, and then used their mobile phones to film the noisy grand occasion.
Bernard Arnault bluntly praised when he returned to the Tokyo Palace in an interview with the well-known French fashion journalist Loic Prigent, “LISA is a global success.”
As the world’s third-richest man and the man behind LVMH, Bernard Arnault’s casual endorsement sparked a frenzy in the fan base. Since creative director Hedi Slimane chose LISA as the brand’s global spokesperson, LISA, who has nearly 80 million followers on Instagram, has become a consensus to leverage the Celine brand.
However, LVMH did not specifically point out the role of individual stars in promoting the brand in the release of the financial report. Although Bernard Arnault expressed his views on LISA this time, although it was not a formal occasion, it was an important recognition of this relationship.
To some extent, the star’s halo obscures the larger changes behind the Celine show.
In the first physical show after the epidemic, Hedi Slimane seemed to wake up suddenly from the dream in the epidemic, from the Tik Tok generation trend aesthetics after 2020, back to the glam rock style before 2020.
Hedi Slimane, who took over as the creative director of Celine in 2018, has given LVMH a headache for two years. After Hedi Slimane took over Celine, he started a drastic reform. By erasing all the marks of the original creative director Phoebe Philo, the brand has been fully personalised.
This imprint is the typical style that Hedi Slimane has insisted on for a long time in his career of more than 20 years, the retro nostalgic 70s rock punk and hippie style. Fringes, sequins, narrow-leg jeans, and leather bomber jackets almost exemplified Hedi Slimane’s most masculine image throughout his time at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent.
This style had a fatal attraction to Hedi Slimane, who was born in the 1960s and did not fully experience the passion of the 1970s. “I have nostalgia for things I haven’t experienced,” he once said in an interview. So he worked tirelessly to detail the kind of people he imagined of that era, a theme that hasn’t changed over the years.
But while Hedi Slimane remains the same, the market is changing. Retro is not archaeology. Millennial consumers love retro and vintage clothing more than any other generation. However, what consumers want to see is not old clothes that are exactly the same as in the last century without innovation, but through different styles. A contemporary mood.
In the first two years of taking over Celine, the fashion critics tried to defend Hedi Slimane at first, explaining the logic of the new Celine to the outside world, emphasizing the important position of Hedi Slimane in the hearts of the fashion industry and its loyal fans. But even the fashion critics felt powerless after three consecutive collections that lacked change.
For two years, LVMH has rarely more explicitly praised Celine’s business contributions in its earnings report. Whether it was the successful acquisition of Tiffany, or the transfer of Kim Jones from Louis Vuitton to Dior menswear, and the freeing of the position of Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director for Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, these bold moves quickly took effect and opened new doors for LVMH. situation.
Only the move of Hedi Slimane to Celine has not achieved the expected effect. In contrast, Bottega Veneta, a subsidiary of the rival Kering Group, was in the limelight under the leadership of the new creative director Daniel Lee, who had no resume endorsement, and virtually brought pressure to Celine, which is also a medium-sized luxury brand.
LVMH’s original expectation for Hedi Slimane was to replicate the business miracle he created at Saint Laurent, helping Celine’s annual sales increase from nearly 1 billion euros to 2 billion or 3 billion euros in five years. But with Celine’s state at the time, such a goal was almost impossible.