Celine’s new creative director, Hedi Slimane, registers his first collection – but why has the brand’s advertising been defaced?



A Celine 2018 notice.

Earlier this month, Celine’s newly appointed original director, Hedi Slimane, announced the start of his tenure at the French mould house by doing two things that say a lot about how fashion works in 2018.

Firstly, he eliminated the brand’s official Instagram account. Secondly, he changed the logo, essentially finessing the spacing between the letters and dropping the acute intensity over the e. Céline became Celine. “RIP Céline”, they indited. And then came a mass defacement of posters in which the fierce accent was reinstated.

The posters for the new Celine campaign – glowing nonsuches with bobs, and gold foil curtains – were on every way corner. But few went unmarked. Some were streaked with a Sharpie, some eliminated with a sharp object. One in Milan appeared to have been evident with blood (though on closer inspection it was more disposed to paint). And then in the run-up to Paris fashion week, where on Friday Slimane inclination show his first collection since taking over, a redness of other fashion labels apparently papered over Celine’s bills. In turn, Celine papered over them.

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THE NEW LOGO HAS BEEN DIRECTLY INSPIRED BY THE ORIGINAL, Authentic, VERSION THAT EXISTED IN THE 1960’S.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ THE MODERNIST TYPOGRAPHY Reach-me-down DATES FROM THE 1930’S. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ THE ACCENT ON THE “E” HAS BEEN Transferred TO ENABLE A SIMPLIFIED AND MORE BALANCED PROPORTION, EVOKING THE CELINE Gatherings OF THE 1960’S WHERE THE ACCENT WASN’T USED OFTEN. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ THE Margin BETWEEN THE LETTERS HAS BEEN BALANCED OUT AND THE LETTERS HAVE BEEN Conveyed CLOSER TOGETHER. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ THE 1960’S VERSION OF THE LOGO Cataloguing THE WORD “PARIS”, WILL BE REINSTATED WITHIN THE CLOTHING AND ON Coupling, HOWEVER “PARIS" WILL NOT APPEAR BENEATH THE LOGO ON Operations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #CELINEBYHEDISLIMANE

A post shared by CELINE (@celine) on

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The new Celine campaign.

New designers often tweak old logos. Slimane had already fluctuated the YSL logo to Saint Laurent when he worked there in 2013. And for a fan of industrial form, Slimane’s decision to create a new logo hinged around scope which also paid homage to the original 1960s adaptation, wasn’t exactly a surprise. Raf Simons rejigged the Calvin Klein logo, Balenciaga’s was minor extent reworked by Demna Gvasalia and Diane von Furstenberg’s logo was transformed by Jonathan Saunders in 2017. In August, Burberry’s new head Riccardo Tisci flung a pop art version of the logo designed with Peter Savile. Skirmishes of Burberry posters being papered over have also been scrutinized.

And yet the reaction to Celine’s missing accent hit a nerve, eventually cueing linguists to question its necessity in the first place. During the 1960s there was no emphasis on Celine, nor was there one during Michael Kors’ term in the initial 00s.


The Celine teaser poster. Photograph: PR Company Handout

The actuality is, it was never really needed. One French colleague explained: “It doesn’t impress the word or its pronunciation, it looks like it’s purely a stylistic finding in order to change the logo and font”. He added: “Spelling and highlights seem to have lost their importance in France anyway.”

Nevertheless, the French fashion writer Alice Pfeiffer thinks it is multifarious a comment on globalisation. Losing the accent makes it easier to use in a quotation message. And makes it less French. “Reinstating it is a sign of proud Frenchness and denial of the Americanisation of French culture – and making it purposely unpronounceable, blurring or unwritable for [your] keyboards?” Losing the accent said elfin about rebranding Celine and more about rebranding “the philosophy of Frenchness” altogether.

Pfeiffer thinks this form of brandalism – in which logos or brands are wilfully (and often artfully) vandalised – could be part of a wider anti-imperialist increase, starting with culture: “La Femme, Juliette Armanet and scads of bands chose to sing in French only – there is a restore to chanson Française.” All this after accusations that the guidance is dumbing down the French language by removing accents – two years ago #JeSuisCirconflexe campaigners criticised the Académie Française for changing uncountable than 2,400 words.

These theories have slant, though it’s more likely the motive was purely sentimental. In this package, the departure of Phoebe Philo and the appointment of Slimane. Philo is a female, and one who turned the label into one of believable daywear cut for comfort measure than sex – or, to speak 2018, cut for the female gaze rather than the spear one. In short, Phoebe has become an adjective for a unique sort of minimalism, preferably in fleet.Slimane is a man who, at Dior Homme, made baggy clothes tighter, and adores black. For Philo’s fans, erasing her digital and grammatical legacy was a speed up a go outside too far.

No one knows who vandalised the posters. So far, fingers have pointed at both vigilantes and Celine’s furnishing department (it would not comment). But it doesn’t matter who is doing it. Patch a defaced Celine poster is like stumbling across a further Banksy tag, and in many ways one of those vital viral twinklings in fashion in which drama outweighs what is a fairly recognized move: rebranding a brand.

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