The Allure of Getting Dressed

A full week after the end of the fashion season, Hedi Slimane of Celine released his fall women’s wear collection — as a video. But while he may have been going his own way with timing and format, in one way he was right on trend: Rather than offering up yet another cool-girl-in-the-city collection (trench coats, jeans, blazers, vintage slip dresses), he swerved in an entirely different direction.

It was one that focused on the three Ps — pearls, pussy bows and polish — of midcentury chic. The word “pert” also came to mind. Politesse, too. Oh, and pouting. Celine is getting in on the beauty game.

In what was framed as an ode to the Celine founder, Céline Vipiana, as well as the photographer Richard Avedon, Mr. Slimane offered up a tight collection of late 1960s silhouettes: extremely short on the bottom (just brushing the rear), structured on the top, and defined overall by an ethos rooted not in rebellion but in the jolie madame. It was less night crawler than day bruncher. Little skirt suits with bright buttons alternated with jewel-encrusted balloon minidresses; neat peacoats with oversize bow blouses beneath carefully cropped jackets.

Celine, fall 2024
  1. Celine
  2. Celine
  3. Celine
  4. Celine
  5. Celine
  6. Celine

There was not a pair of pants to be seen, though there were a lot of boots, exaggerated spitfire caps, shades and, always, pearls, in the form of button earrings or Babe Paley strands. Indeed, in aesthetic terms at least, Mr. Slimane and Ryan Murphy of “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans” seem to be on the same page in embracing the return of highly conscious, coordinated outfits — in embracing the idea of the outfit itself, retrieving it from the dustbin of the passé.

There’s nothing casual or just-rolled-out-of-bed about these clothes. Nothing “Oh, this old thing?” Rather, they speak to the importance of dressing for the occasion, when every day is the occasion.

The message was somewhat undermined by — buy? — the loving close-ups of the new lipsticks, as well as by Mr. Slimane’s insistence on using only very young, very skinny models. (In this, he is still unfortunately stuck in a rut.) But it’s still a striking message, and one that has been dormant for a long time.

Ever since casual Fridays were introduced way back when, we’ve been on a slippery slope to the end of even an unspoken dress code. These clothes — this trend, which was also the biggest takeaway of the recent season — suggests there is value in moving in the other direction, in the idea of putting oneself together.

In the end, it’s a form of self-care. Can’t everyone use a bit of that right about now?

Back to top button