It’s the end of the summer, which can only mean one thing: it’s fall.
OK, so it’s not quite fall—in New York, the subway is still a swarming swamp of betrayal and pain—but the fall collections are arriving in stores, and boy, do they have a trend story to tell us: trends are over.
At Celine, Hedi Slimane’s beguilingly bourgeois latest collections of womenswear, men’s tailoring, and outerwear, are finally on the racks and ready to be coveted, tried on, and maybe even bought (wowee, is it is expensive).
In person—or maybe with the gift of time—these clothes tell a much different story, at once slower and more urgent than things seemed on the runway. “This is just the perfect jacket,” I thought, trying on the Tournon, a two-button blazer in checked wool with a notch lapel. (The jacket, among many other things, smartly comes in a men’s and women’s version.) It hung next to a pair of jeans, not too skinny, and a cotton poplin shirt—a seductively simple outfit suggestion. I found myself thinking, against all my styling instincts, of just the “right” belt for the ensemble, which of course Celine makes, too.
I thought of a grandparent who might stress the “right” bag with the “right” shoe. “Right” is a word we haven’t heard in fashion in a long time, since personal style and self-expression have trickled up to the runways. But “the right thing” is like a mantra at Celine: the jean jacket, the tweed coat, the jean—each piece is not trying to say too much. It’s there to be the highest possible version of itself. At Hedi’s Saint Laurent, I always felt, “This is cool.” The new Celine makes me think: “This is really nice.” Of course, Slimane always tosses in something to throw us off a little, to show us that just when you think you’ve got his number, he can make a studded checkered fur-coat look smart. But even the more rock ‘n roll showpieces are done, the aforementioned grandparent might say, “in good taste.”
Celine may be leading the good-taste charge, but that house isn’t the only one moving in this direction. Mr. Porter has beefed up their offering of Charvet “to a full haberdashery offering—including slippers, socks, knitwear and accessories.“ Charvet, of course, is the 181-year-old French brand known for its custom shirting and silk ties, but it also makes beautiful cashmere sweaters and knit polos, which you can now buy on Mr. Porter. People also seem to be wearing the haberdasher’s cult-favorite house slippers—also for sale on Mr. Porter, though very often sold out—on the street, like a more, well, tasteful version Gucci’s purposely over-the-top fur-lined slides. Burberry is embracing the garment that made it famous with a trench-packed ad campaign released earlier this week (and is now being sold at Totokaelo, the palace of avant-garde brands). Alessandro Michele’s Gucci has always been great at digging through its own archives, but it’s those ’60s and ’70s jetset heyday pieces—like this rhombus cardigan—that look better than ever.
Also hot: new brands that behave old. The Row is another menswear line that moves quickly on Mr. Porter ( menswear launched last summer), but the Olsen twins work like a heritage house, making carefully considered tailoring and shirts that change little from season to season, unmoved by novelty. Like Celine, each item approaches its Platonic ideal. These are clothes engineered to stand the test of time. Even jeans, which have become one of the more experimental garments in fashion over the past few years, are looking more and more like “instant classics,” with one of the prime examples coming from, of all places, the artist Sterling Ruby’s new brand. (This I love: Celine’s jeans are called the “Regular.”) And chinos? Why not!