When Hedi Slimane was announced as the new creative director of Celine nearly two years ago, there was no shortage of speculation. Would the beloved Celine of Phoebe Philo fame be no more? Would #newceline be nothing but a reimagining of the #oldsaintlaurent? And for olfactory enthusiasts: Would there finally be a fragrance? (With the exception of a since discontinued 1964 effort, Celine stood alone as one of the only major fashion houses without a scent.)
At least the final question has been answered tout suite. Launching this month is the Celine Haute Perfumerie collection, a range of nine unisex scents from Slimane himself; two additional fragrances will complete the wardrobe next year.
Perhaps a more meaningful way to distinguish the fragrances rather than via their launch date is by their geographical and temporal affiliations: eight are Paris-inspired— five day, three evening—and one, Eau de Californie, is inspired by the Golden State, where the designer once lived. That’s the scent he wears, too, along with Black Tie, another one of the evenings.
All of the offerings are inspired by—what else—Slimane’s personal olfactory journal, and his expertise is apparent. Slimanestans will remember he was also the nose behind the three Maison Christian Dior fragrances back in 2004; Celine Haute Perfumerie feels like a full body expansion of that initial first breath. For starters, the scents are bound together by white orris, a nostalgic powdery chypre note that many fragrances avoid because of its antiquated associations. Here, it’s almost as though Slimane relishes the challenge. Another bold and cheeky move? Nightclubbing, one of the evening standouts, is meant to smell like cigarettes, or more specifically, how your clothes might smell after a night out at a club, before cigarettes weren’t allowed in clubs.
The bottle, which is paperweight-heavy and gorgeous, was also designed by Slimane and displays the sharp-edged fluting traditional in French glassmaking. The black lacquer cap is engraved with the emblem of the Hotel Colbert de Torcy, the brand’s homebase. Each bottle costs $320 and feels, honestly, worth every scent.