Rich Slumming Royal Vibes at Celine Winter 2023
Everyone is talking about the return of “indie sleaze,” but few have captured the distinct downtown cool of the 2000s better than Hedi Slimane, who began his fashion career collaborating with era-defining bands like The Strokes and Interpol. For Celine’s FW23 runway, Slimane put a high fashion spin on some of the early aughts’ most recognizable silhouettes. Models slinked down the runway at Los Angeles’s iconic Wiltern Theatre in skin-tight skinny jeans, hip-slung belts, and slouchy faux-fur outerwear. Artfully tailored suits were paired with frill-collared blouses and wispy, loosely-knotted neckties. “Hello Operator,” a new song Slimane commissioned from The White Stripes, blared through the art deco landmark originally built in 1931. But don’t call it “grunge.” After the show, awaiting their flight from Los Angeles back to New York, our editor-in-chief Mel Ottenberg caught up with casting maven and fashion everyman Greg Krelenstein to discuss the collection, the star-studded after-party, and why the fashion kids follow Hedi Slimane wherever he goes.
MEL OTTENBERG: Okay. I’m here at the airport with Greg Krelenstein. I forgot to do a review of the Celine show, so we’re going to do it now. Hi, Greg.
GREG KRELENSTEIN: Hey, how are you?
OTTENBERG: Our flight is delayed. We need to talk about Celine because we were just saying how good that party was last night.
KRELENSTEIN: No one can do it like Hedi. There’s not another brand, another designer. It’s so signature to him and the crowd he cultivates, from Dior to Saint Laurent to Celine. It’s like, they follow him.
OTTENBERG: They follow him, but they also get younger and younger. There were no boogers there. Everyone looked like a total freakazoid in the best way possible. I met a million children. I ran into a million people.
KRELENSTEIN: I saw my crushes, William [Gao] from Heartstopper and Rachel Sennott and Suzanna Son.
OTTENBERG: Fuck. I wish I’d hung out with Rachel Sennott.
KRELENSTEIN: Cindy Crawford looked really hot too.
OTTENBERG: She did. In that silver dress. We saw that basically every rock and roll trend is still somewhat alive.
KRELENSTEIN: Colored hair, skinny ties.
OTTENBERG: The colored hair was really giving the give.
OTTENBERG: And the models, I thought there were some girls with really great tushies. The girls weren’t all so skinny. They all had hot butts.
KRELENSTEIN: The girls were hot.
OTTENBERG: It was a posh, rich slumming royal vibe. It’s not grunge. The kids are giving major ’70s glam. The girls are in really theatrical looks.
KRELENSTEIN: Fringe bangs, velvet dresses. Lots of sheer looks. High boots.
OTTENBERG: Lots of red and yellow, like McDonald’s colored hair. Glitter girls.
KRELENSTEIN: Not grunge though.
OTTENBERG: Not grunge. It’s very anti-grunge, this look. Why was it so good? Oh wait, The Wiltern—
KRELENSTEIN: The Wiltern.
OTTENBERG: Is incredible.
KRELENSTEIN: Because it’s not a fashion party. There was no lame media. It was just cool people that he liked. Because he knows that the best press is literally just the kids putting on their stories. That’s who you want to see.
OTTENBERG: Yes. Celine is 20 zillion times cooler today than it was a year ago or two years ago. But I liked it then and I like it now. It’s just him doing him. And you look at that show and you’re like, “Okay, these clothes are really well done.”
KRELENSTEIN: I mean, his collection was beautiful. And he’s also kind of came back to do this in LA at the moment where indie sleaze has kind of recycled itself and come back, and so it felt nice for him to own that moment. And you really saw that last night.
OTTENBERG: Yes. They told me that he was telling them to give the attitude. Who were you most gagged about at the party? I was looking for Ariel Pink and I didn’t meet him. I know that it’s controversial to be into Ariel Pink…
KRELENSTEIN: I was pretty stoked to find out that I was literally next to Leonard DiCaprio and had no idea.
OTTENBERG: Oh, my god, I missed that.
KRELENSTEIN: Yeah, Leo and Toby McGuire together forever. Nineties icons.
OTTENBERG: Oh, my god. So iconic. Where’d you see them? Were they at The Strokes concert?
KRELENSTEIN: I think I saw them backstage in Hedi’s area. But there were so many people there. It was really hard to find even friends.
OTTENBERG: I never found you and Sky Ferreira. I never saw Sky. I saw a zillion people, but I also missed a zillion people.
KRELENSTEIN: Well, the other cool thing was that there was a small VIP for the actors so that everybody could see them.
OTTENBERG: Austin Butler.
KRELENSTEIN: Yeah. Kaia and Austin.
OTTENBERG: I really like Austin Butler. I didn’t see either of them at the party. I was just in a weird area talking to gremlins and goblins and eating Celine french fries.
KRELENSTEIN: I was somehow talking to the starlets. And then I was with Patrick and Walker who shot that amazing Tara Reid story.
KRELENSTEIN: I asked him all the details because shooting that kind of woman is just brilliant. I was thinking, just how any fashion party is, there is that element of it being content. They gave you a concert. This gave you cool kids street style. It also gave you an amazing show.
OTTENBERG: Yeah. Iggy Pop was great. The Strokes were great. I missed Interpol. I’m a tired old man now, so I went to bed.
KRELENSTEIN: They kind of killed, to have also people wait around for bands at a fashion party, it’s pretty brilliant. It was like an Indie prom. They really transformed that venue into a Celine circus.
OTTENBERG: Oh, my god. With all every bartender in a full Celine look—fierce. Everything looked great. I wish I took pictures of everyone, but I forgot.
KRELENSTEIN: You couldn’t. I took three pictures all night. Everyone was in the moment.
OTTENBERG: Yeah. I think that most brands are thinking about throwing a party in order to get the content, so when you’re at the party, you’re like, “Oh, this isn’t that major, but it’ll look major.” This really was truly a major party.