Celine Menswear Autumn-Winter 2024/25: Hedi Slimane’s Fantastic Symphony

Earlier this week, Celine dropped its collection for the upcoming Winter season, with Hedi Slimane once again opting for a video on YouTube rather than the actual catwalks of Paris Fashion Week and soundtracked with classical music instead of the designer’s usual neo-rock.

The music in question? Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, which, according to Celine’s PR department, Slimane first discovered when he had just turned 11.

The composer, who wrote the piece in 1830 when he was 26 — hoping it would help him seduce a British actress — described it as an ‘immense instrumental composition of a new genre.’

After its first public performances, critics were surprised by the music’s modernity, one reviewer evoking “the almost inconceivable strangeness that one could ever imagine”. And in 1969, conductor Leonard Bernstein described the Symphonie Fantastique as “the first psychedelic symphony in history, the first musical description ever made of a trip, written one hundred thirty odd years before the Beatles.”

There are only slight nods to psychedelia in Slimane’s new video, although a few of the models do bear a slight resemblance to late 1960s California rock star Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, who was often photographed in his heydays wearing a stovepipe hat.

And some scenes were apparently filmed in the legendary Troubadour Club in West Hollywood, which throughout its history hosted shows by folk and soft rock legends like Jackson Browne, the Eagles, and the Byrds, as well as punk and new wave icons and headbangers including Mötley Crüe and Guns’n’Roses, who first performed there.

The video opens with seven black helicopters, each with a white Celine logo, flying low over the Mojave desert. A Celine-branded jukebox hangs from one of the helicopters and is left in the middle of nowhere, on the tarmac of a lost highway.

We get vague glimpses of the setlist on the jukebox. There’s Jimmie Hodges and Shania Twain, Johnny Maestro and Fats Domino, plus the aforementioned Symphonie Fantastique, the video’s soundtrack.

The desert highway doubles as a catwalk for Slimane’s models, wearing mostly black, although some sparkly gold or silver coats figure in the finale, as they often do in Celine collections. Catwalk images are mixed with footage of a teenage cowboy riding his horse and a slow procession of five black Cadllacs with Celine licence plates.

Symphonie Fantastique sees a return of the kind of lean tailoring that Slimane built his career on, with a silhouette that nods to both the 1960s and the 19th century — tight, cropped three-button suits, frock coats and hand-embroidered waistcoats, in precious fabrics including silk, cashmere, satin and vicuna wool, styled with pussy bows, boots, and wide-brimmed preacher’s hats that wouldn’t look out of place on Nick Cave or Neil Young in a Jim Jarmusch movie, or Johnny Depp in a Dior perfume ad.

But all in all, the esthetic remains quintessential Slimane, equal parts Parisian bourgeois and Velvet Underground leather.

The video ends with the jukebox catching fire, and the music going silent: THE END.

Should we see “Symphonie Fantastique” as Slimane’s goodbye to Celine?

Rumours of the designer leaving the brand have been persistent, with Chanel often being named as a possible next destination. Coincidentally, or not, on the same day the Celine video was released, Chanel communicated a 16% revenue rise, praising creative director Virginie Viard — a “vote of confidence” in the designer, according to WWD.

So, will he stay, or will he go?

Courtesy: Celine

Text: Jesse Brouns