Nature’s gold is green, they say. Which is another way of saying youth is better than old age. Hedi Slimane’s latest outing for Celine Homme SS22, Cosmic Cruiser, is an unabashed homage to those green days, relishing in the freedom that comes from the in-between.

Cowboy boots and sequin kaftans; capes and leather pants; exaggerated denim legs that could have been plucked straight out of the late ‘90s rave scene and, at the other end of the spectrum, stove-pipe trousers so fitted it looks like the model was sewn into them. All set to the backdrop to the intense revs of motocross riders performing high-octane aerial tricks over the runway.

High octane scenes at the Celine Homme SS22 runway. Image: Courtesy Celine

The press details for Celine Homme SS22 define the collection’s direction as “the restless dreams of a cosmic teen”. And it’s impossible to separate the idea of youth – nature’s green – from what we saw come down the runway. This was clothing for, and inspired by, the disaffected. Those who crave personal freedom while at the same time seeking connection to a world that they are unsure of where they fit in. It was a collection that celebrated that golden age between childhood and adulthood, where nothing mattered but, of course, everything mattered.

You can see this tension in the proportions that Slimane delivered, alternating between the volume of fluffy pink sweaters, oversized denim and the feline-ferocity of skin-tight leather. These golden years are equally the most awkward as we attempt to define our fledgling identities. This is where scenes such as rave, skate culture and music provide a lifeline. That’s who we are, that’s how we dress, this is where we belong.

Cardigan, harness, skirt and denim? Ready fort he day. Image: Courtesy Celine.

There’s a sense of recklessness in those early years of teen-dom – physically and emotionally. While you can read that as being directly played out by the way those on their bikes flung themselves into the air at top speed, there’s a far more nuanced reading in the garments’ design point of view. A look of the pre-worn and damaged are styled with the exquisite tailoring of blazers, embellished with sequins or embroidery. It’s in the styling – a pink cardigan featuring puppies worn over a harness, with a tulle skirt, jeans and Cuban heel boots. It’s fearless as only someone who doesn’t know the rules by which the rest of the world plays can only be.

Slimane’s point of view has always been guided by youth, something that he has been allowed to relish in since becoming Creative Director at Celine back in 2018. Even the most precursory glance at his back catalogue reveals how much of his work is influenced by the next generation, from their style and their ideals. But it’s always informed by the codes of Slimane’s own early years. At 53, the artist and designer lived through the ‘80s late-stage punk scene and came of age during the ‘90s grunge and rave eras. This personal nostalgia is what will help the collection translate to an older consumer. Although admittedly, most of us may no longer have the whip-thin bodies of growth-spurt days.