Céline (brand)

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Subsidiary of public company
Industry Fashion
Founded 1945; 72 years ago (1945)
Founder Céline Vipiana
Headquarters 16 rue Vivienne, Paris, France
Key people
Phoebe Philo
(Creative Director)
Revenue €172.2 million (2012)
Owner LVMH
Website www.celine.com

Céline is a French ready-to-wear and leather luxury goods brand that has been owned by LVMH group since 1996. It was founded in 1945 by Céline Vipiana. Since November 2015, the headquarters are located at 16 rue Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris at the Hôtel Colbert de Torcy, which has French Historic Monument classification.[1] Severine Merle is the chief executive officer, and the creative director is Phoebe Philo.[1]

Creation of the brand[edit]

In 1945, Céline Vipiana and her husband, Richard, created one of the first luxury brands in the industry, Céline, a made-to-measure children's shoe business,[2] and opened a first boutique at 52 rue Malte in Paris.[3] The brand was recognised by its logo, the red elephant created by Raymont Peynet.[4]

A new positioning[edit]

In 1960, the brand decided to change its positioning by focusing its business on a ready-to-wear fashion brand for women with a sportswear approach.[5] Henceforth, the brand offered a range of leather goods such as bags, loafers, gloves and clothes.[6] Céline Vipiana remained the designer from 1945-1997.[7]

In 1964, the launch of the new fragrance "Vent fou"[8] and the new ‘American Sulky’ collection of accessories gained a lot of success. The trench became the iconic product of the house.[9] Prompted by the popularity of leather and dedicated to the quality of production, Céline opened a leather goods factory in Florence.[10]

In 1973, Céline redesigned its logo with the intertwined "C" Sulky canvas, linked to the Arc-de-Triomphe, which appeared as a symbol for Parisians.[11] At that time, Céline began its expansion in the world with the opening of various boutiques in Monte Carlo, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lausanne, Toronto and Beverly Hills.[12]

The brand’s founders wished to be part of a charitable association, so Richard Viapiana established the Céline-Pasteur Prize, a sponsor for the American Hospital of Paris in 1973.[13]

Acquisition by LVMH[edit]

In 1987, Bernard Arnault decided to buy into Céline’s capital.[14] However, it was only in 1996 that the brand was integrated into the LVMH group for 2.7 billion French francs ($540 million).[15] LVMH propelled the brand to fame with the opening of a boutique at 36 avenue Montaigne in Paris.[16]

Céline’s designers[edit]

American fashion designer Michael Kors was named the first ever women's ready-to-wear designer and creative director for Céline in 1997.[17] During his tenure at Céline, Kors brought modern femininity with a luxurious spirit.[18] In 2004, he left the fashion luxury house to focus his career on his own brand.

In 2005, Italian designer Roberto Menichetti was named creative director.

A year later, Croatian designer Ivana Omazic directed the design studio. Omazic was a former consultant for the brand and previously worked with Romeo Gigli, Prada, Jil Sander and Miu Miu. Omazic designed for Céline until 2008, after further disappointments for the brand.[19]

A new creative director: Phoebe Philo[edit]

On September 4, 2008, the fashion portal Women's Wear Daily announced that Bernard Arnault, president of LVMH, had appointed Phoebe Philo as the new creative director of Céline.[20] Philo's tenure at Céline began in October 2008, and she presented her first ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 2010 at Paris Fashion Week.[21] Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive officer of LVMH’s fashion division, said that recruiting Philo was giving her the opportunity to express her vision.[22] Phoebe Philo brought a new touch to the brand creating functional clothes with a focus on materials and tailoring. In 2009, Vogue Magazine defined her style as the “cool minimal trend”.[23]

Phoebe Philo studied at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London.[24] Prior to Céline, Phoebe Philo held the position of Design Director at Chloé.

In 2010, Phoebe Philo received the Designer of the Year award from British Fashion Council. In 2011, she was awarded International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.[25] Both prizes were awarded for her work at Céline.


The brand owns almost 150 stores worldwide and is distributed through a selective network including department stores such as Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods (London) and Galeries Lafayette (Paris).[26] "Trapèze", "Trio", "Belt", "Trotteur"; "Trifold" have been recently added to the leather goods collections.


External links[edit]