The Most Savage Reviews of Hedi Slimane's Celine Debut

The backlash is real.
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A look from Celine's Spring 2019 collection. Photo: Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

A look from Celine's Spring 2019 collection. Photo: Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Thanks to social media and live streaming technology, initial reactions to Hedi Slimane's first show as creative director of Celine came hard and fast, in real time, as soon as the first few looks appeared on the runway on Friday. And they were strong and passionate, from the Saint Laurent comparisons to the hard-to-ignore parallels to the current political climate.

While regular viewers were quick to express their feelings about the show on Twitter and Instagram — most of which could be described as disappointment, disdain, anger, disbelief and mourning for Phoebe Philo's era of the brand — we wondered if professional fashion critics would be as unrestrained in sharing their takes on the collection. As in, people who may not be invited back to the brand's shows if they wrote unfavorable reviews. Well, to our delight, several of them (but not all!) were, from Tim Blanks to Robin Givhan to Diet Prada (and us).

Unfortunately, Cathy Horyn hasn't shared her thoughts yet (and seemingly has no plans to), but we'd wager they are no different than they were in her initial reviews of Slimane's Saint Laurent that prompted Slimane to write a scathing open letter and ban her from his shows. (Overall, Slimane's Saint Laurent debut was met with a similarly negative response from critics to this one.)

Slimane himself hasn't responded to all this negative press yet, either, but we'd be lying if we said we don't hope he does.

Without further ado, read on for some of the most scathing reviews of the collection, and some of our favorite quotes and passages from each.

"Two years ago when Mr. Slimane departed fashion, the world was a different place. Women were different. Hell, they were different a few days ago. They have moved on. But he has not. And it meant that, despite an audience crammed with rock’s hipster elite, the lyrics that most came to mind were Mamma Mia! Here we go again."
Hedi Slimane's Celine: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again by Vanessa Friedman

"'You have to be yourself, against all odds,' he told Le Figaro. In his passion for skinny androgyny he is being himself, which history suggests would be a huge success. Fashion reflects the world we live in, as Coco Chanel observed. The female point of view appears to have fallen out of style." The Message from Hedi Slimane's debut Celine Show? Women Move on, Nothing to See Here by Lisa Armstrong

"A brand that was once thoroughly identified with a peerless instinct for what women want in fashion all of a sudden looked like a gust of toxic masculinity. And not simply because Slimane struck an overpowering menswear chord — even if it was specified as 'unisex' — at a brand that made its billions addressing women with a very particular sensitivity." A Dark New Dawn at Celine by Tim Blanks

"Slimane doesn't seem particularly interested in addressing the mundane issues in a woman's life. His fashion is not here to solve your problems. Save your problems for your therapist. His designs are about his vision. They are not welcoming. They exist behind the velvet rope. They are the after after party." A Provocative Designer Has Just Blown up a 70-Year-Old Brand. But to What End? by Robin Givhan

"With the likes of Anthony Vaccarello and Alexandre Vauthier churning out more elevated mega-watt 80s-inspired collections in recent years, Slimane's now look high-street by comparison." @dietprada

"[Hedi] had come to Los Angeles years ago in search of new youth. Paris was dead. He had literally sucked it dry. He swore to himself he would never return. New York was fine, but he wanted something with un peu less soul. Los Angeles was perfect. At first. But like everything and everyone around him, like Jade, like all the others, it had betrayed him. It had gotten old." @jooleeloren

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