Hedi Slimane brings back the Noughties with skinny jeans and ‘crook of the arm’ handbags

Are we ready to rerun the vogue for carrying heavy bags on limp wrists?  (Celine SS23)
Are we ready to rerun the vogue for carrying heavy bags on limp wrists? (Celine SS23)

Hedi Slimane was the designer darling of noughties fashion. He gave rockers their skinny jeans and the It-girls their It-bags to match, which they obediently flung, limp-wristed, in the crooks of their arms.

At the time, he was creative director of Dior Homme (2000 – 2007) and Yves Saint Laurent (2012 – 2016) before taking over Celine in 2018. Here he has brought his quintessential sex, drugs, and polite rock’n’roll approach to the French label - where thin is questionably still king, and his early 2000s customers are on the mood board.

Y2K fashion at Saint-Tropez (Celine SS23)
Y2K fashion at Saint-Tropez (Celine SS23)

This week, he presented his Spring/Summer 2023 vision, with an off-schedule film taken on a jetty in Saint Tropez, but it might have been any given Thursday in 2006.

The show notes nodded to as much. “Throughout the 2000s, Hedi Slimane dressed various figures of the British and American rock scene, acting as both their couturier and preferred portraitist,” it opens. “The Saint-Tropez collection marks the return of the ‘the original skinny jeans’.”

Tight navy-blue denim was paired with sparkly ballet pumps, harking back to 2007 pictures of the late Amy Winehouse, papped strolling through Primrose Hill with boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil. Elsewhere, cool-girl biker boots were worn with low-slung super-short shorts, bikini tops, and sailor hats, while slim-fit tailored jackets with exaggerated shoulders were layered over shirts unbuttoned to the waistband. There were sophisticated, Breton-striped sweaters, a statement-making gold lamé caped coat, and an army of big, blackout sunglasses.

The collection harked back to the Amy Winehouse vibe, and featured the Conti bag (Celine SS23)
The collection harked back to the Amy Winehouse vibe, and featured the Conti bag (Celine SS23)

The aesthetic was fully realised and a constant, hammered home with Celine’s new ‘Conti’ bag, which is a relaunch of “The Cabas Bag from [Slimane’s] London period”. It comes with instructions to carry it, too, “on the forearm”.

They came holdall-sized in brown suedes and polished black leather and are the antithesis to today’s fashion for micro shoulder bags. A far cry from Dua Lipa with the bag-of-the-moment Diesel mini clutch, the large structured totes are more akin to those carried by Sienna Miller and Kate Moss in the Notting Hill set party years, along with spray on jeans, billowing boho blouses and battered ballet pumps.

Are we ready for a return to that Y2K look? Slimane says yes.