Celine is a French Maison that began in 1945

Celine is a French Maison whose history began in 1945 as a custom-made footwear business for children, then evolved into a French house of luxury leather goods and ready-to-wear fashion.



    1. The origin: Céline Vipiana
    2. The acquisition by LVMH
    3. Michael Kors at Céline
    4. Phoebe Philo’s era
    5. Céline by Hedi Slimane


The origin: Céline Vipiana

Celine has a long and rooted history in the fashion world. The first boutique was opened by Celine Vipiana and her husband, Richard, at 52 rue Malte in Paris. Together they created one of the industry’s first luxury brands, Celine, a custom-made children’s footwear company. Then, year after year, the success of the maison allowed it to expand. Céline Vipiana was the designer from 1945 to 1997.

Céline Vipiana.

In 1960, the brand changed its position and began to focus on a women’s ready-to-wear fashion brand with a sporty approach. Three years later, in 1963 it presented a line of women’s shoes and in 1966 it debuted with a collection of leather goods. In 1973, Celine redesigned its logo with the interwoven “C” Sulky canvas, linked to the Parisian symbol, the Arc de Triomphe.

Celine is a French Maison The acquisition by LVMH

In 1996 the brand was officially acquired by LVMH, Bernard Arnault, who owned several luxury and fashion brands for $ 540 million. At that time LVMH made the brand popular and opened a boutique at 36 Avenue Montaigne in Paris.

The company, led by Nan Lergeai, head of Dior‘s Far East, launched a policy of opening single-brand boutiques around the world, with particular attention to the Asian and American markets.

Michael Kors

In 1997, American designer Michael Kors was named the first women’s ready-to-wear designer and creative director of Celine. After being hired, the brand evolved rapidly and in May 2001 the company opened its first single-brand boutique in London, in the New Bond Street privileged area. Then, in August, the Isetan Museum in Tokyo dedicated a retrospective to a brand that illustrates the style of the Maison from 1945 to today, highlighting the changes that took place in 1997 with the arrival of the artistic director Michael Kors.

Micheal Kors Celine
Micheal Kors

The protagonist was the famous Grant bag, very successful in the 1960s, sewn right in front of visitors in a miniature cardboard version. The pieces for sale are limited and numbered, personalized with the buyer’s name.

In September 2001 with the advent of the single European currency, created a dedication to the euro with a collection of accessories decorated with the twelve coins to be issued. After London and Antwerp, Club Celine arrived in Italy, in the new boutique opened in Galleria Cavour in Bologna. The company planned to open another 100 stores by the end of 2001.

The Poulbot bag

In May 2003, the brand presented a new bag: the Poulbot. This name is almost unknown and it derives from Francisque Poulbot, a contemporary artist of Toulouse-Lautrec, by which he was inspired when he painted the brats in the streets of Paris. Since then Pouliot has meant hedgehog, and the bag is called a “hedgehog” or “brat”. It hangs like a shoulder bag, rounded with seams held together by metal rivets, made of leather in bright colors such as orange, fuchsia, and electric blue.

The Poulbot bag by Céline.

Moreover, the brand offers a mini-collection inspired by the streets of Paris. The name chosen for the collection, Macadam, is the name of the flooring material laid in 1854, an important element in the stylistic identity of the city. The collection only lasted one season. At this point, Celine had experienced great growth and had 63 boutiques around the world.

New creative direction: Roberto Menichetti

In October 2004 Roberto Menichetti made his Paris debut as Celine’s creative director. He replaced the American Michael Kors as the artistic head of the historic French Maison. In May 2005, after only two seasons, the collaboration between the Italian designer and the French Maison ended. The separation was consensual.

Later in June, after the opening of the boutique via Condotti in Rome in 2004, another prestigious shop was opened in the very central via Tornabuoni in Florence. It was a great way to celebrate the brand’s 66th anniversary. In the previous four years, the brand showed a 50% growth in turnover.

A year later, the Croatian designer, Ivana Omazic, was appointed director of the design studio. She was a former brand consultant and previously worked with Prada, Jil Sander, and Miu Miu. Omazic was designed for Celine until 2008, after further disappointments for the brand.

Phoebe Philo’s era

On the 4th of September 2008, the LVMH Group appointed Phoebe Philo as the new creative director and member of the board of the brand. The designer incorporated her own breakthrough into the brand by drawing attention to tailoring and materials. Vogue defined the new aesthetic look that she brought to the brand as the “minimal cool trend”.

Celine FW 2018
Celine FW 2018

In 2014 the brand was at its peak when the Maison opened new flagship stores in Mount Street (London), Avenue Montaigne (Paris), Omotesando (Tokyo), SoHo (New York), and Plaza 66 (Shanghai). At the end of 2014, Céline completely renovated its new headquarters at 16 Rue Vivienne, a historic building that was built in 1653. The building was on the National Heritage List, originally owned by King Louis XIII, and positioned in the heart of Paris. In 2015, to be faithful to Céline’s minimalist spirit, the brand chose one of the legendary American authors Joan Didion as the face of the SS15 campaign.

2017 has been a year of changes , earlier this year, Séverine Merle joined Céline as the new CEO. Later in February, the brand finally launched an official Instagram account to bolster its social media presence.

For many years  official website remained one of the few fashion websites without the e-commerce functionality, but there is no doubt that online sales have become the most important and promising growth engine in the fashion industry. It was the 27th of February 2017 when announced it wanted to open an e-commerce. In August the brand entered the Indian market for the first time by signing an exclusive partnership with Le Mill, a concept store in Mumbai. Moreover, after serving as the house’s creative director for 10 years, Phoebe Philo left Céline in 2018.

Hedi Slimane 

In January 2018 a new artistic and image creative director was appointed, not just anyone: Hedi Slimane one of the most popular creatives of recent years. He had just finished working at Yves Saint Laurent, and he immediately decided to include a men’s line and a Couture and perfume line. After ten years of management under Phoebe Philo’s watchful eye, the absolute fashion genius of the 90s began to embody the new generations in the brand.

Celine FW 2019_2020

In September he decided to make a courageous move, to change the communication of the brand. So he took over the brand’s Instagram profile and erased the past, definitively opening a new chapter. Only one image currently appears on the social network, as well as on its official website: that of a sort of golden paper curtain, a curtain that seems to unroll endlessly, waiting to reveal the brand’s new strategy. The name CELINE appears, which has lost its acute accent, in black capital letters on a white background. The new logo is directly inspired by the historical one of the 60s.

The typeface is modernist, dating back to the 1930s. The accent disappeared for the sake of reduction and purity. The mention “Paris”, historically very present, returned in an institutional way in the new packaging concept and on the brands of the new collections, but it should be noted that the indication Paris will not appear on Celine’s advertising campaigns.

Hedi Slimane chose Lady Gaga as the new ambassador to unveil the new bag model, sober and in black leather, immediately published on the singer’s social networks.

conclusion Celine is a French Maison whose history began in 1945


La Rinascente

Van Saene, Dirk

Celine S/S 2020 and the 70’s