Enter the 16 bag. First spotted on the arm of Lady Gaga at the end of August, the boxy, black leather top-handle handbag features discreet gold hardware and the new accent-less Celine logo. It has been named the 16, the brand informed WWD, after the location of the brand’s headquarters and atelier, in a 17th-century mansion on 16 Rue Vivienne in Paris, and will come in three sizes and a range of colours.
“The 16 handbag is the ultimate symbol of Hedi Slimane’s vision for Celine: it emphasises our knowledge of incredible craftsmanship,” commented Séverine Merle, CEO of Celine, ahead of the November 12 launch date. “Hedi pushed our team and asked them to deliver their best: despite drawing the 16 on the day of his arrival, it took our team more than six months to achieve the final version, meticulously developing each detail and testing the most luxurious skins to find the perfect leather.”
Since Slimane’s longtime collaborator Gaga toted the design, Angelina Jolie has also been seen carrying a long-strap version of the 16. Predictably, interest has been high. “Judging by the high level of advance enquiries, [Slimane] has laid the foundation for a future iconic classic,” Merle asserted.
Aside from artfully choosing to premiere his debut through a friend (Gaga) with close to 30 million Instagram followers, Slimane’s product choice is a clever one. Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH group, announced in January that he hopes Slimane will double or triple Celine’s revenue in the next five years. As accessories make up an estimated 65 per cent of the brand’s revenues, they are the best strategy Slimane has to start climbing the target.
The e-commerce platform, which is currently being overhauled in line with Slimane’s vision, will also be vital to his success. Accordingly, the early October relaunch will coincide with the launch of an online shopping platform in the US. The new website will carry a capsule of Slimane’s new collection for women and men, alongside a selection of current season merchandise, designed by a team before his arrival. Two new bag styles will follow the 16 in the coming months, however it has not been announced which of Phoebe Philo’s accessories will be carried over. Snap up those Trios while you can...