Celine Men’s Winter 2024: A Western Symphony

Hedi Slimane takes viewers on a trip to the desert and back through time with the release of a fashion film showcasing Celine’s Men’s Winter 2024 collection.

Hedi Slimane is a designer who has always understood that music maketh the man. Just as he draws inspiration from musicians and their rhythms, Slimane’s designs have come to define a certain musical aesthetic, a way in which artists present themselves to the world in order to be understood. In his shows, the soundtrack is integral to understanding the clothing and the person wearing it. What you hear is just as meaningful as what you see.

Several times now, Slimane has presented his Celine collections not as traditional runway shows, but as films. His latest, released yesterday, is a 14-minute video titled Symphonie Fantastique, a Western-inspired clip which reveals the maison’s men’s winter 2024 collection.

It opens with the sun rising over the Mojave Desert: magnificent, barren, hushed at first – but soon, helicopter blades begin to crescendo. Seven black choppers, each with “CELINE” printed in white on their sides, fly in a V-formation. Beneath the leader dangles a large-but-indiscernible object which it sets down on the road with a thud: a “CELINE” jukebox. An unidentified man inserts a coin and presses buttons C and 5: Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique begins to play.

Symphonie fantastique, first performed in 1830, is not an obvious choice of soundtrack for Slimane. Consider the raw, underground band photography he posts to his online visual diary, or those who have played Celine after parties (Iggy Pop, The Strokes and Interpol performed after the December 2022 show at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater), or the musicians who have appeared in its campaigns (Bob Dylan!) But, as the show notes explain, Slimane discovered the piece when he was 11, and became fascinated by Berlioz’s rich and unconventional orchestral epic.

Unexpected as the music may be, the clothing is pure Slimane, immediately recognizable in the collection’s elegant tailoring. As models walk down the center of a desert road, their monochromatic looks cut a strange and stark silhouette against the nature beyond. They wear knee-length frock coats, sleek three-buttoned suits, and embroidered waistcoats. Their trousers are cut slim, they stride forward in heeled boots, while sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats obscure their faces. There’s a 1960s British sensibility to the hairstyles and silhouettes – one stand-out jacket is reminiscent of the collarless Pierre Cardin versions worn by The Beatles.

Often, Western films tell stories of rugged individuals in pursuit of freedom. The great Leonard Bernstein – who conducted the version of Symphonie fantastique that accompanies the film – found a similar adventurous spirit in Berlioz’s composition, describing it as “the first psychedelic symphony in history, the first musical description ever made of a trip, written 130-odd years before the Beatles…” Celine’s Symphonie Fantastique may not be psychedelic exactly, but tells us the story of another trip: one Slimane’s making at his own pace, in his singular style.

Emma Stone in Yorgos Lanthimos's Poor Things

Sex and Power in Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things

Read the interview

All of Us Strangers: A Portrait of Gay Isolation

Read the interview

Tom Sachs Paints His Own Picasso

Read the interview