Celine Reimagines its Classic Monogram for New Timeless Collections

French fashion house Celine is moving in on the top trends. Monogram, check. Heritage-inspiration, check. Canvas, check. With the debut last month of its new Triomphe Canvas in both the “Haute Maroquinerie” and Essentiels collections, Celine hit many of the latest fashion trends.

The new(ish) canvas, designed by the brand’s creative, artistic and image director, Hedi Slimane, back in 2018, is a fresh take on Celine’s iconic monogram which first debuted in 1972. The design takes inspiration from the chain encircling the Arc De Triomphe, highlighting the brand’s French roots.

The new Vertical Cabas Celine in Triomphe Canvas and Calfskin from the collection priced at $1,950 Photo courtesy: Celine

Celine Follows Strategy of Corporate Siblings

The French luxury fashion brand clearly understands the power of the continuing logomania trend and undoubtedly wants to cash in. With LVMH as its corporate parent, it’s probably no surprise to see Celine attempt to parallel the logo, canvas, monogram success of its “siblings” Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Dior. Moreover, Louis Vuitton and Dior successfully remodeled logos/monograms recently and, no doubt Celine aims for the same result. Indeed, Louis Vuitton – with popular reinterpretations of the fabled monogram print – was recently named the most valuable luxury brand according to a report by BrandZ.

Indeed, Louis Vuitton has successfully moved the brand into the 21st century with the launch of its Giant Monogram canvas and more recently the house’s Monogram Jungle fall capsule collection, a wild take on the beloved classic.

The newly released Louis Vuitton Neverfull from the Monogram Jungle fall capsule collection Photo courtesy: @helenhandbag

Slimane knows the effectiveness of reimagining a classic. Along with fashion consultant Jean-Jacques Picart, he helped convince designers to reinterpret Louis Vuitton’s classic Monogram canvas for the house’s 1996 centenarian celebration. Many consider that move fundamental in transforming Louis Vuitton from a luggage and leather goods company into a fashion powerhouse.

Pieces from the Louis Vuitton Centenaire 100th Anniversary Collection by Azzedine Alaïa Photo courtesy: Christie’s

How Does the New Canvas Differ from the House's Original Monogram?

The new Triomphe Canvas designed by Hedi Slimane in 2018 Photo courtesy: Celine

The house’s original monogram canvas Photo courtesy: Vestiaire Collective

Slimane’s new design takes a great deal of inspiration from the original but has darker tones and an overall cleaner and sharper finish.

The new canvas is currently available in pieces from the “Haute Maroquinerie” line while the Celine Essentiels collection is set to launch later this month.

The “Haute Maroquinerie” line features a small selection of key pieces that suit the reimagined classic well. The line includes the Vertical Cabas bag, Medium Travel bag, Medium Backpack, Vertical Messenger bag and the Mini Pocket Messenger bag.

Medium Backpack in Triomphe canvas, priced at $1,600 Photo courtesy: Celine

Vertical Messenger bag in Triomphe canvas, priced at $990 Photo courtesy: Celine

Mini Pocket Messenger Bag in Triomphe canvas, priced at $940 Photo courtesy: Celine

The Celine Essentiels collection diversifies the Triomphe Canvas’ use, featuring it in a travel bag, small drawstring bag and a tote, among others.

Large Travel bag in Triomphe canvas Photo courtesy: Celine

Tote bag in Triomphe canvas Photo courtesy: Celine

Celine’s decision to expand the use of the canvas evinces the brand’s hope to popularize the canvas and make it an integral part of the brand’s offerings.

How Does the Canvas Match Up to its Contemporaries?

In terms of price, the Triomphe canvas rivals similar items by Louis Vuitton and Gucci. As a marketing strategy, launching  the “Haute Maroquinerie” line by releasing a few key pieces in the canvas, Celine repeats the strategies of these successful brands: adding more affordable canvas options to the leather offerings. 

It remains to be seen whether Louis Vuitton and Gucci customers will abandon their brand loyalty and flock to Celine when looking for canvas classics at a similar price point.

Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandouliere priced at $1,820 Photo courtesy: Louis Vuitton

The new Celine Medium Travel Bag in Triomphe Canvas and Calfskin priced at $2,100 Photo courtesy: Celine

Gucci Ophidia GG medium carry-on duffle priced at $1,980 Photo courtesy: Gucci

But, do we really need another monogram, this time from a brand with which we are less familiar? Celine’s competitors, including the likes of Louis Vuitton and Fendi, have long focused much of their brand image and offering around signature monogram pieces that have not only proved popular with luxury consumers but have gained an almost cult following, particularly with the logomania trend being so popular. Is it conceivable that a new version of Celine’s monogram could steal customers away from beloved and well known classics? Only time will tell.

The “Haute Maroquinerie” collection bills itself as timeless while the Essentiels collection (the clue is in the name) is set to feature the future essential Celine pieces. The house clearly hope this canvas will transcend time and become a classic. Whether die-hard fans of the Phoebe Philo-era Celine bags will come along for this ride, remains to be seen.

Slimane is famous as a radically transformative designer – but is this a transformation or a commercial move? 

What are your thoughts on the Triomphe Canvas?
Do you prefer the house’s original monogram?
Will you opt for a piece from Celine’s “Haute Maroquinerie” collection over the likes of LV and Gucci next time you’re looking to purchase a canvas bag? Let us know.

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