Regardless of where you stand on the Hedi Slimane-at-Celine debate, it’s hard to deny that the man has continuously displayed quite the Midas touch when it comes to moving merchandise. While runway shows certainly provide the top-down allure and direction of a brand, to a smaller but no less important extent, the shopping environment is where consumers directly experience the “narrative”.
It’s been four months since Slimane showcased his vision for Celine and now we finally have the details of his first retail store for the brand. Opening on New York City’s Madison Avenue this week, the expansive 5,000 sq ft boutique takes on a modernist-meets-Brutalist aesthetic with a focus on natural stones — for example, balsatina is used for the flooring, while the walls are made of granite. To contrast all the industrial coldness, accents such as reclaimed oak add a warmer touch.
In short, it doesn’t stray too far from Slimane’s vision of Saint Laurent during his tenure there and like the apparel, is a far cry from the old Celine stores with their earthier, plant-filled vibes. The store is also filled with one-off furniture, also designed by Slimane but what’s new is the addition of site-specific artworks by contemporary artists such as James Balmforth, Jose Davila, Elaine Cameron Weir and Oscar Tuazon.
On our part, we’re pretty interested to see how other Celine stores worldwide will be re-modelled — according to i-D magazine, Canadian artist Cameron Weir will be installing a special artwork in the Tokyo store, while American artist Tuazon will be doing the same at the Paris brunch. Stay tuned for more.
In our region, fans can expect the first standalone Celine men’s at Landmark Hong Kong, opening Feb 25.