The Instagram posts teasing out Hedi Slimane’s Celine vision might have reached fever pitch, but now there’s a real product to get excited about ahead of the September 28 show, where his revamp of the French house will be revealed in its entirety.
Enter the 16 bag. First spotted on the arm of Lady Gaga at the end of August, the boxy, black leather top-handle handbag features discreet gold hardware and the new accent-less Celine logo. It has been named the 16, the brand informed WWD, after the location of the brand’s headquarters and atelier, in a 17th-century mansion on 16 Rue Vivienne in Paris, and will come in three sizes and a range of colors.
“The 16 handbag is the ultimate symbol of Hedi Slimane’s vision for Celine: it emphasizes our knowledge of incredible craftsmanship,” commented Séverine Merle, CEO of Celine, ahead of the November 12 launch date. “Hedi pushed our team and asked them to deliver their best: despite drawing the 16 on the day of his arrival, it took our team more than six months to achieve the final version, meticulously developing each detail and testing the most luxurious skins to find the perfect leather.”
Since Slimane’s longtime collaborator Gaga toted the design, Angelina Jolie has also been seen carrying a long-strap version of the 16. Predictably, interest has been high. “Judging by the high level of advance enquiries, [Slimane] has laid the foundation for a future iconic classic,” Merle asserted.
Aside from artfully choosing to premiere his debut through a friend (Gaga) with close to 30 million Instagram followers, Slimane’s product choice is a clever one. Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH group, announced in January that he hopes Slimane will double or triple Celine’s revenue in the next five years. As accessories make up an estimated 65% of the brand’s revenues, they are the best strategy Slimane has to start climbing the target.