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Is Hedi Slimane exiting Celine?

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Celine SS23 Credits: Hedi Slimane for Celine

Since the beginning of April, speculation has been rife regarding the potential departure of Hedi Slimane from Celine and LVMH. Mr. Slimane assumed the role of Celine’s creative director in January 2018, purportedly under a six-year contract. This contract came up for renewal early in 2024, and despite ongoing negotiations, no announcement regarding his future tenure has been made.

According to Business of Fashion, the star designer and LVMH have thus far failed come to an agreement, while other sources have gone so far as to suggest that an announcement of his departure is imminent, but could take up to a year. It has further been reported that LVMH has been interviewing several key designers for the role.

Celine's turnover was approximately half a billion euros annually when Mr. Slimane took over as the creative head. Since then, it has grown to approximately 2.5 billion euros as the French luxury house expanded into menswear, beauty, and bolstered its leather goods business.

Mr. Slimane, a figure known equally for his styling, merchandising, marketing, design, and photography skills, has exercised strict creative control, overseeing every detail of Celine's communication, image, show, casting, store design, social media, and, of course, the collections, throughout his tenure. In doing so, he has developed a set of brand tropes that have proven undeniably successful, leaving his mark etched into the Maison’s codes as distinctly as he did at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent.

During his initial seasons, Mr. Slimane's aesthetic drew criticism from both industry insiders and the brand’s customers, who, under predecessor Phoebe Philo, had favoured a more subtle and intellectual approach to design. Despite Ms. Philo’s popularity, Mr. Slimane's ambitions were aligned with LVMH’s desired growth trajectory, which has required significant investment over the years. In return for expansion Mr Slimane was given stark creative control.

As LVMH balances cost-cutting in a slowing luxury market, can it afford to lose a designer of Mr. Slimane’s stature? With an intrinsic understanding of luxury branding and delivering commercial product, Mr. Slimane stands as a rarity in the top echelon of creative directors, and his role will be challenging to fill.

Hedi Slimane