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Hedi Slimane for Celine, Summer 2023 / ©Celine

Ocean water lapped and black rocks glittered under the Mediterranean sun as Hedi Slimane for Celine presented its latest collection, Summer 2023, using a harbor-side walkway in St Tropez as its runway.

The idyllic coast of the south of France, in which the region’s blue and green vistas and seaside towns formed a postcard-worthy background, was a sentimental choice for Slimane, the luxury house’s artistic, creative and image director. 

As revealed in a short film that debuted the collection to the wider world on November 17, St Tropez is the third city on the French Riviera used by Celine to showcase its summer collections, the first two being Monaco and Nice. 

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‘Indie Summer’ by Hedi Slimane / ©Celine

And with Slimane residing in Ramatuelle, a small village adjacent to the glittering St Tropez, since 2018, this feels somewhat more personal in tone. This isn’t better conveyed than the use of Villa Kerouac, his beach house, as a setting in the short film. 

Yet whilst this is Villa Kerouac’s showcase debut, the walls of the St Tropez beach house are a constant presence for the designer, who acknowledges the house is at the ‘heart’ of Hedi Slimane for Celine, serving as a source of inspiration for the interiors of Celine boutiques across the globe.

The film also features The Libertines’ 2004 classic, Music When the Lights Go Out, the indie rock song choice reflecting the nostalgia-infused turn to the noughties of the catwalk, with echoes of the feminine rock and roll look so pioneered by Slimane in the early 2000s. This is the man celebrated for pioneering the skinny jean, after all.

Sailor details were abound, a homage to St Tropez/ ©Celine

Stompy boots, ballet flats, leather waistcoats, slouchy bags and, naturally, an abundance of a low-rise waist; the glamorous bohemian, glitzy rocker style of two decades ago were clearly back in action. And yet the presence of the French Riviera was an unavoidable source of inspiration that webbed and flowed in between the rock chic aesthetic.

Sailor’s hats adorned with the house logo atop windswept hair, Breton-inspired sweaters, even denim cut-off shorts. Not quite the Ibiza-esque paisley print and flowing maxi skirts today associated with St Tropez, Slimane’s ‘Indie Summer’ collection was a more tailored reflection on the traditional trappings of naval style, with cropped sailor jackets and brassy gold button details.

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Slimane fused noughties nostalgia with Riviera timelessness / ©Celine

“For the past five years, the couturier has explored St Tropez and a more general nostalgia for the French Riviera as a counterpoint to the Saint Germain des Pres codes of Celine,” the house confirmed ahead of the Summer 2023 premiere. 

Slimane, of course, is by no means the first to acknowledge the style power of the Riviera town. A bastion of the 70s hippie chic aesthetic, St Tropez will forever be associated with the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin. More recently, Karl Lagerfeld hosted his 2010-2011 Chanel fashion show on the port.

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