CARRY IT FORWARD
It’s not only a designer’s job to create but also to decide what from the brand’s archives should be carried forward into the future. Nowhere is this more visible than in a brand’s accessories whose sales are often what keep the ready-to-wear division afloat. More of us are willing to pay their huge markups, especially for handbags, because we’re buying a product that is designed to be worn for immeasurable stretches of time while continuously saying something of the brand and of us.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that when a new design team took over Céline, a company founded in 1945 and returned to prominence in 2009 by superstar designer Phoebe Philo, they opted to reconnect the accessories with the Céline archives rather than reimagining them altogether. It suddenly appears as though the house has a consistent history and can warrant their Hermés-level prices. The bags’ fresh-but-not-new design appeals equally to our desire for what is hip and what is timeless which I imagine has a lot to do with why they are selling so well.
Illustrations by Michelle Ricks of contemporary Céline handbags – contact Barneys New York or Bergdorf Goodman for details, Photo: Céline advertisement from 1975