Goodbye Céline, hiya Celine. The LVMH-owned vogue label unveiled a brand new brand over Labor Day weekend, and the web may be very divided in regards to the typographic facelift.
On Monday, weeks forward of his debut assortment for the model, incoming artistic director Hedi Slimane brashly introduced the beginning of his period with a ceremonious Instagram purge that wiped the complete official @celine account clear, changing it with a 3–half submit asserting a newly refreshed model identification. In brief: The accent over the E is now gone, and the letter spacing has been finessed for visible consistency. Vogue insiders and stans alike promptly went into mourning over the previous look of the luxurious vogue home. Customers griped and ranted that “The brand new Celine sounds low-cost and cheesy,” and “NO ACCENT NO CÉLINE,” whereas one other merely proclaimed: “R.I.P. Céline.”
Beneath the three similar posts, which function a shimmering gold curtain as a form of prelude to his splashy entrance, Slimane, who has been famous to carry a selected ardour for typography, structure, and industrial design (he’s a Dieter Rams fan), detailed his rebranding strikes. Set in a 1930s modernist font, “The brand new brand has been immediately impressed by the unique, historic model that existed within the 1960s,” the caption reads, additional explaining that the accent was eliminated to hearken again to the model’s minimalist 1960s period and “allow a simplified and extra balanced proportion.”
This could be the second time Slimane, who most lately headed Yves Saint Laurent, upset the apple cart by tweaking a legacy brand design. Then, he retired the well-known YSL mark, initially drawn by the painter Adolphe Mouron Cassandre in 1961, by buying and selling its serif strokes for Helvetica and shortening the label’s identify to easily Saint Laurent.
Whereas it could appear odd and even a bit surreal to listen to the style crowd get their clothes bunched over matters as arcane as kerning, diacritical marks, and classic typefaces, logos maintain a heightened function within the luxurious vogue world, and for good motive: They’re usually the face of equipment, the money cow of the luxurious items trade. Plastered on purses and equipment, packaging for magnificence merchandise, and lower-end tees and merchandise that drive the underside line, the blueprint of a heritage brand seemingly upholds the aura of authenticity for luxurious vogue manufacturers, even because it feeds the aspirational beast that spawns poorly botched imitations and counterfeits. For those who’re spending hundreds on a luxurious merchandise, you’re certain to know the actual factor—all the way down to the embroidery, buttons, seams, zippers, and, sure, brand—to a tee. For some gadgets, together with Celine’s personal notorious $600 plastic bag that trended this spring, an genuine brand is what largely distinguishes the merchandise from a plain ol’ pile of PVC.
Past product, logos right this moment additionally have to function throughout a plethora of distribution channels. As Chris Wu, a accomplice on the design studio Wkshps, explains, this implies an apt brand “must be no-fuss and bulletproof. It might probably seem on a tiny avatar and nonetheless look clear and sharp; it must render properly and stay recognizable within the background in a video or 1-second animated gif,” he mentioned, and it even “must be simple sufficient for followers or haters to tug out and create web memes and in a distorted and unconsidered setup.” For Wu, the elimination of the accent over the E strategically acknowledges a extra international demographic. “I see a transparent nod to the intrinsic nature of digital communication and globalism. A model right this moment not solely must be acknowledged, but additionally mentioned, shared, and ultimately, typed out. I’m wondering how many individuals ever intentionally sort out the accent é after they share their new Céline bag in a social media submit.”
For longtime collectors of Celine wares, information of the brand redesign each egotistically dates final season’s bag to a pre-Slimane period, and goals to generate hype for a demographic of customers frenzied over Instagram feeds. (A video of the identical golden curtain additionally options on the model’s web site celine.com, with the addition of a small countdown clock to Slimane’s present at Paris Vogue Week in 23 days, measured by the hours, minutes, and seconds.) It could be that monograms, lengthy considered the lifeline and foreign money of longevity for some luxurious vogue manufacturers, are an old style signifier of rarified exclusivity that’s much less related to right this moment’s digitally pushed tradition, the place the hunt for continuous newness trumps custom, and the notion of shopping for a future heirloom appears slightly quaint (and maybe even naive, as a result of #latecapitalism).
British designer Peter Saville, lauded for his album covers for bands like Pleasure Division, was lately criticized on social media for his redesign of Burberry’s heritage phrase mark and tessellated monogram; he additionally redesigned the Calvin Klein brand final 12 months. And the cuttingly ironic collections of Balenciaga of late, led by Vetements’ Demna Gvasalia, sarcastically pepper clothes with a way of parody, aping and recycling the acquainted look of name logos starting from DHL to Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign.
For a visually saturated digital panorama, logos are however avatars teeming for our consideration—whilst they fall into an more and more homogenized type. “The tighter letter spacing looks like an enchancment from the unique design, however we miss that little bit of uniqueness and context that got here from having the accent over the E,” says David Heasty, who runs the graphic design studio Triboro along with his spouse and accomplice, Stefanie Weigler, and has labored on campaigns for purchasers starting from Everlane to Nike. “If seen in a cultural vacuum this logotype can be pretty, however Celine’s new brand falls sufferer to the present reigning typographic zeitgeist. Practically each sort of firm, from start-ups to the most important firms on earth, have now embraced geometric sans-serif sort of their identities,” he provides—”a practical alternative for tiny screens.”
Greater than the brand itself, says artwork director Eric Hu, a former design director at SSENSE, was the drastic alternative to clean the @celine Instagram account clear. “Even when unintentional, it feels as if it was an try and be a revisionist with historical past. It’s virtually as if Phoebe Philo’s archive was made invisible which I don’t suppose is honest. Modernism with a capital ‘M’ was partly about removing the previous—annihilating historical past to construct a brand new world. Such an perspective worries me in our present political local weather,” Hu mentioned.
Phoebe Philo, who preceded Slimane’s appointment with a 10-year tenure, championed girls with its elegant, minimal-cool tackle jolie laide—that very French preferrred of a wise and understated, ugly stunning—and the rendition of the Céline brand in her time, whether or not deliberately or not, could possibly be seen as an extension of her ethos for a distinctly imperfect magnificence. For a memorable and internet-breaking advert marketing campaign in 2015, Philo featured Joan Didion, the sage mind identified for economical prose and fierce unbiased thought, as her type muse at age 80.
A number of days later that very same season, Slimane, then head of Saint Laurent, launched a marketing campaign starring his personal elder muse, the musician Joni Mitchell, which each spoke irreverently in direct dialog to Philo’s Didion, and fell in keeping with his frequent enamor for figures from the pop and rock world: lithe, edgy figures like Sky Ferreira, Frances Bean Cobain, and Grimes, photographed in stark black and white. A strategically positioned sneak preview of Slimane’s first Celine design—a stately leather-based purse noticed on the arm of Girl Gaga roaming the streets of Paris final week—is a few indication that the model will fall into an identical vein.
Slimane’s official title is “creative, artistic, and picture director”—an all-encompassing function of artistic management he’s mentioned to have pioneered for the modern vogue world—and he’s actually commandeering the final of these duties. And in true rockstar vogue, as soon as he steps out from that proverbial golden curtain, the label could merely be identified bittersweetly, for some followers, as The Vogue Home Previously Recognized As Céline.