Hedi Slimane, the Book Worm

Video courtesy of Celine.

My god, I miss going to a Celine fashion show. The energy. The style. The rock and roll! For the last few years, the house helmed by extremist Hedi Slimane has staged its seasonal presentations outside of the French fashion calendar, and the one time they landed stateside—at Los Angeles’ iconic Wiltern Theatre no less—I was in New York, because, well, duh. So my experience of Celine, like most others, has been limited to the video runways the brand churns out, tiny musical entry points into Slimane’s lost world of rambunctious glamour. Staged amongst the literary treasures of Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the latest for his Spring/Summer 2024 collection, Tomboy, follows suit. And in true Slimane fashion, the suiting is androgynous. Located across the street from the brand’s ateliers, the BNF library is one of the oldest cultural institutions in France. It boasts the country’s royal collections from the Middle Ages as well as literary manuscripts by the likes of Pascal, Diderot, Apollinaire, Proust, Colette, Sartre, and more. Slimane’s Celine collection, as you’ll expect, is unapologetically less classical, although there are some interesting notes that strike both the bourgeois and Gen-Z. Leather headphones (part of a collaboration with Master & Dynamic) and adolescent track-jackets are worn over hand-embroidered couture while slouchy low-risers are paired with dramatic sunnies lost in the sun-less stacks of academia. Of particular note, the Margot Tenenbaum-style fur overcoats are fur-free. (The shearling is real, though.) Such a vision of crop top and couture-laden models stomping through a space of study may seem something out of a 2000s Gossip Girl fever dream—the soundtrack by LCD Soundsystem also doesn’t help—but perhaps if it occurred more often in real life, we’d have a higher literacy rate. Or at least better dressed librarians.

Joshua Glass is the founder and editor-in-chief of Family Style.