Hedi Slimane is shining the spotlight on Celine’s expert haute craftsmanship once more with his latest collection Haute Maroquinerie and the reimagination of two iconic handbag styles
Savoir-faire. Precious materials. Single-craftsman-created pieces. Now Hedi Slimane is elevating Celine’s craftsmanship to entirely new heights with his latest Haute Maroquinerie collection which, comprising unique crocodile pieces accented with 18 carat gold, is artisanal, bespoke and extremely rare all at the same time.
With two of the Maison’s signature bags at its heart — the 16 and the Triomphe — each piece in the collection is assembled to order by a single artisan, paying tribute to Hedi’s strong history with both Couture and Haute Parfumerie. Perhaps most unique is the exotic leather used to craft the bags — crocodylus niloticus. Otherwise known as Nile crocodile and recognisable for its large oval scales, each of the skins used in the new collection has been sourced from a certified International Crocodilian Farmers Association supplier — a not-for-profit organisation that has developed formal standards for crocodile and animal farms addressing animal welfare, sustainable production and scientific research — ensuring that both strict ethical and environmental standards are always being met.
Once an order is placed, the leather bag is cut and polished with an agate stone, a practice that dates back centuries and brings out the crocodile skin’s natural colour and shine without affecting its singular pattern. Is it any surprise Celine had to call on highly-skilled artisans to create the collection, one bag at a time? This is definitely one for the history books.
As Hedi Slimane’s very first bag for Celine, The 16 — a reference to the address of the Maison’s couture atelier at 16 Rue Vivienne in Paris — is a style the creative director holds close to his heart. This time around the creation of each bag requires 17 hours of workmanship, complete with handles saddle-stitched by hand and an underside flap in crocodile with lining in glossy goat leather.
A True Triomphe
Among the first of Hedi Slimane’s creations for Celine, the Triomphe stands out for its pure and contemporary aesthetic. Assembled in Nile crocodile and lined with glossy goat leather, it now comes labelled with the Haute Maroquinerie signature and contains a mirror also bordered in the exotic crocodile skin.
Pick Your Palette
Conceived by Slimane himself, the collection’s chromatic palette is composed of 14 rare hues that convey classic elegance while drawing inspiration from the history of France, including a mirror-black Laque Noire, sensual beige Cachemire and emerald green Empire.
Lock and Key
Accented with jewellery elements in 18 carat white or yellow gold, take your purchase to a whole new level with an all-gold lock which can be customised with a solitaire underneath or with a pavé on the outward-facing side.
Those lucky enough to get their hands on an exclusive piece of the new collection will also be treated to a lacquered eucalyptus wood and black leather coffer panelled box in which to house the precious purchase. Available upon request at select Celine boutiques. Explore the collection online
- Photography by Hedi Slimane
- Words by Naomi Chadderton