Hedi Slimane’s collection was good. But why does the designer continue to promote a very thin ideal with his models?
Designer Hedi Slimane has quite literally built his career in fashion on a specific — very specific, even — body type: at Dior Homme, then Saint Laurent (no Yves, thank you very much) and now at Celine (sans l’accent aigu). In the ’90s, it might have been called “heroin chic”; in 2020, I’d call it “outdated.”
As the world marches on towards embracing more diversity and body positivity, the fashion industry has followed in jerky, small steps. Europe, most notably, has been behind on this movement. During London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, we’ve clocked only a handful of plus-size model castings on the major runways so far. (And two of them have been Paloma Elsesser.) But where other designers have at least moved on from the super, uber skinny models which once dominated fashion to embrace models with (ever-so-slight) curves and even (gasp!) older models with wrinkles, Slimane simply cannot and apparently will not quit his penchant for seemingly-no-larger-than-size-2 men and women to populate his shows.
This is to the point of distraction now, a glaringly anachronistic casting that hasn’t been particularly welcome for years in the industry. Perhaps asking for a plus-size model on a Celine runway would be pushing too far, but there are plenty of other models who feature the same body parts as the women who might be looking to buy Slimane’s designs — namely, breasts and hips. (FWIW, the brand goes up to a US 12 in apparel.)
It’s a shame, really, because the clothes he designed for Celine’s Fall 2020 collection were lovely and otherwise wearable: brown suede skirts, smart navy blazers and coats, paisley printed peasant dresses, velvet shorts suiting, stacked heel loafer, heeled boots and flared pants — all meant to be unisex. But if you can only design for people who are built one way, are you really a good designer at all?