Introduction

Step into the universe of pre-owned Celine handbags and fashion, where if Celine were a woman, she’d be the cool Parisian girl you’d want as your fashionable best friend. The house of Celine is a perfect combo of minimalist elegance with a dash of modern flair, rocking a vintage vibe and adding a sprinkle of that “I don’t care, but I really do” attitude.

Our journey through the history of Celine handbags is like flipping through a stylish time capsule. These bags are the trendsetting buddies who have seen it all and still look fabulous.

From simple beginnings to ambitious designs, Celine handbags have shaped the fashion landscape, becoming must-haves for those who crave sophistication with a side of audacity. So, buckle up as we take you on a fun ride through the history of Celine handbags.

Who was Celine Vipiana?

From children’s shoes to timeless fashion.

Celine Vipiana was the visionary founder behind the iconic French luxury brand Celine. She was born on the 23rd of June 1927 in Paris, France.

In 1945, at 18, Celine and her husband, Richard Vipiana, founded a made-to-measure children’s shoe boutique called Celine, le bottle pour enfants. It was wartime in Paris, and women were not encouraged to be independent. Still, the couple took a risky gamble: to create luxury shoes for the children of the Parisian bourgeoisie.

Celine’s first logo was a charming red elephant designed by comic artist Raymond Peynet, which turned their boutique into a sensation. The red elephant stood on the roof of their little shop. It held a shoe with its trunk and invited everyone to visit the store.

Over 15 years, Celine expanded into women’s shoes and accessories, earning a reputation for blending classic styles with contemporary elegance. Under her leadership, the brand achieved global success, a legacy that persisted even after she sold the company in 1987.

Celine Vipiana’s impact on fashion is immeasurable. Though she passed away on the 17th of November, 1997, her contributions continue to be celebrated through the timeless appeal of Celine’s creations.

Celine Vipiana
Celine Vipiana

The Timeline of Celine (1945-2006)

  • The first children’s boutique store, Celine, le bottle pour enfants, was opened in 1945.
  • Three more stores. Finding success in the children’s market, the creative husband-and-wife duo expanded and opened three more stores by 1948.
  • 1960s. Fast forward to the 1960s, when the French company broadened its horizons into adult footwear, accessories, and a women’s ready-to-wear sports collection. The aim? Bringing ready-to-wear fashion to the everyday woman. Embracing practicality over extravagance, Celine introduced a sportswear-focused line featuring wool skirt suits, tailored shirts, leather vests, and pastel-colored denim, marking a significant step in making fashion accessible to a broader audience.
  • In 1963, she debuted a line of women’s shoes, and a year later, she introduced Vent Fou, the brand’s inaugural fragrance, boasting notes of galbanum, jasmine, and rose.
  • Continuing her quest for excellence, Vipiana expanded into leather accessories in 1966, including bags, belts, and gloves, sourcing them from a top-tier leather goods factory in Florence.
Celine’s Original Presbyopia Monogram Pattern On Leather.
Celine’s original presbyopia monogram pattern on leather.
  • By the ’70s, Celine had become a global phenomenon, establishing new boutiques in prominent locations such as Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, and Hong Kong.
  • In 1973, a pivotal moment occurred with a monogram redesign. Stranded as her car broke down on Place de l’Étoile, Vipiana found inspiration in the decorative chains of the Arc de Triomphe. The playful intertwining of the letter ‘C’ in the links captivated her so much that she adopted it as the brand’s emblem.
Monogram Canvas Inspired By The Arc De Triomphe.
Monogram canvas inspired by the Arc de Triomphe.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, Celine took a backseat to other luxury brands.
  • The turning point came in 1987 when Bernard Arnault’s LVMH purchased a stake in Céline’s capital. However, it wasn’t until 1996 that the brand was fully integrated into the LVMH Group for a substantial 2.7 billion French francs ($540 million).
  • While Céline Vipiana remained in charge until her passing in 1997, the reins were passed to Michael Kors, named the brand’s first-ever creative director and women’s ready-to-wear designer. Kors revitalized the fashion house with successful ready-to-wear lines and accessory collections. Introducing luxury staples like cashmere sets and themed collections inspired by jet-setter locales, Kors also launched Celine’s ‘It’ Boogie and Poulbot styles, reigniting interest in the brand.
  • Despite Kors’s success, he departed in 2004, citing declining sales and dissatisfaction with LVMH’s treatment of smaller labels.
  • Roberto Menichetti, a one-time Burberry designer, took over briefly in 2004 and was succeeded by Ivana Omazic in 2006.
  • However, it was Phoebe Philo, the young British designer, who took the helm and is credited with establishing Celine’s 21st-century style, marking a new era for the iconic fashion house.
Phoebe Philo
Phoebe Philo

Phoebe Philo saved Celine.

Phoebe Philo’s arrival at Celine in 2008 marked a turning point for the iconic brand.

Joining the LVMH Group as creative director and a board member on the 4th of September, Philo wasted no time infusing her unique vision into the fashion house. Her focus on tailoring and materials breathed new life into Celine, earning her widespread acclaim.

Philo’s designs, characterized by camel tones, minimalism, white shirts, and leather trims, resonated with critics and audiences alike. In her debut Spring 2010 collection, she presented clothing that women aspired to wear—precise lines, sharp tailoring, and fluid shapes, all in a rigid color palette of neutrals. Philo described her approach as “cleaning it up” to create a contemporary minimalism.

The Phoebe Philo era at Celine was an undisputed success. Beyond revitalizing the brand, Philo introduced new ideas, launched movements, conveyed empowering messages, and paid tribute to significant figures. Her impact extended to iconic bag designs like the Trapeze, Classic, Luggage, and Cabas styles, making them coveted accessories.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Philo received the prestigious Designer of the Year award from the British Fashion Council in 2010 and the International Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in the following year. However, in December 2017, Philo announced her departure from Celine after completing the Fall 2018 collection.

The Philo era remains a defining chapter in Celine’s history, earning the brand the affectionate moniker “Old Celine” from its devoted fans.

The ‘New Celine’ under Hedi Slimane (2018-present.)

In a noteworthy move, LVMH appointed Hedi Slimane as the Artistic, Creative, and Image Director of Céline on the 21st of January, 2018. Taking the helm on the 1st of February, Slimane brought his distinctive style, heavily influenced by youth culture, indie rock, and rebellion, to reshape Céline’s traditional aesthetic. His previous stint at Yves Saint Laurent inspired him to expand Céline’s offerings, introducing men’s fashion, couture, and fragrances.

Breaking away from tradition, Slimane replaced the brand’s accent and unveiled an updated logo on Instagram in September 2018. His retail flagship concept stores in global cities showcased his vision, and he chose Lady Gaga as the ambassador to unveil a new bag model, signaling a shift in Céline’s image.

Lady Gaga Celine Bag
Lady Gaga

Despite initially harsh critiques, Slimane continued leading the French label, and his Celine 2021 Spring Summer collection marked a triumph among the younger clientele. The collection exuded a sporty, laidback, and effortlessly cool vibe, featuring basics like logo-stitched baseball hats, hoodies, and sweatpants paired with timeless motorcycle jackets. The success of this collection set the tone for subsequent Celine launches, solidifying Slimane’s ability to create a cult following around his approach to French luxury. His designs, resonating with the current moment and embodying his laid-back style, have consistently captivated fashion enthusiasts and affirmed his impact on the Celine brand.

Hedi Slimane’s first collection, ‘The 16.’

This lineup was a tribute to the brand’s Paris headquarters address. The star of the show was the original Celine ‘The 16’ top handle bag, available in Small, Medium, and Large sizes, featuring the iconic 16 turn-lock.

But that’s not all – there are also crossbody bags and shoulder bag variations to explore.

The newest addition to the family is the Celine 16 Bucket bag, introduced in Spring 2021. It has a slouchier body and a more relaxed shape than its structured siblings. And if you’re into something softer, there’s also the ‘Soft 16,’ living up to its name with a more gentle touch.

How the Celine brand logo evolved.

The 1970s and 1980s were Celine’s glamorous heyday, with their logo showcasing a posh carriage – the epitome of style and charm.

Fast forward to the 1990s through 2018, when Celine decided to keep it simple and said goodbye to the fancy carriage. They opted for a clean, no-nonsense logo with just their name, “Celine.” It was like they traded in their ball gown for a sleek and modern jumpsuit.

The accent above the letter E appeared for a while but disappeared again in 2018. Now, it’s all about the timeless word “Celine.”

The Evolution Of The Celine Logo.
The evolution of the Celine Logo.

The Process of creating a Celine Bag.

At Celine, the journey of creating a fashion item unfolds with the dedicated work of the design team.

These creative minds meticulously shape the future look of each item and the overall collection. Working hand in hand with the designers are fabric procurement specialists, essential players in the process. Their crucial role involves selecting and providing top-tier fabrics, leather, and accessories, ensuring the highest quality.

As a global fashion brand, Celine collaborates with numerous manufacturers worldwide, each comprising experts in clothing production. To maintain rigorous standards, a specialized department for technical quality control ensures that every item meets stringent criteria.

Before reaching the store shelves, the garments undergo scrutiny by a team of sales experts who act as the brand’s ambassadors. These individuals evaluate the items, ensuring they embody the personal appearance aligned with the brand’s dress code.

This meticulous process ensures that each Celine fashion piece reflects the brand’s aesthetic and meets the highest standards of quality and style.

Two Celine Bag Classics.

The Celine Box Bag.

The most famous Celine bag is ‘the Classic Box,’ a structured shoulder bag with a long strap that can be worn crossbody and is made with supple but sturdy box calfskin.

Reese Witherspoon With The ‘Celine Classic Box Bag.’
Reese Witherspoon with the ‘Celine Classic Box Bag.’

Crafted under the creative direction of former designer Phoebe Philo, the Celine Box bag made its debut in 2011, quickly becoming a crowd favorite. It strikes a perfect balance between contemporary and classic, making it an ideal day bag and a must-have in your collection.

The Celine Box bag lives up to its name, boasting a structured, vintage-inspired silhouette. Its defining feature is the unique push tab closure at the center, adding a touch of sophistication to the minimalistic design. The bag is available in various colors and even lizard skin for exotic leather enthusiasts.

Inside, the bag unfolds like an accordion, offering multiple compartments for organization, including a zippered slot for smaller items. To enhance versatility, the Celine Box bag has a detachable strap, adjustable to two lengths.

The Classic Box Offers Multiple Compartments For Easy Organization.
The Classic Box offers multiple compartments for easy organization.

The Celine Triomphe

The Celine Triomphe, introduced in 2021, has swiftly earned its place as a beloved classic.

Breaking from the brand’s low-key design tradition, Celine made its logo the star of the show, featuring distinctive double C hardware on the front. This eye-catching emblem is a crucial factor in the bag’s instant popularity.

Crafted from buttery calfskin leather, the used Celine Classique Triomphe Bag boasts a sleek and refined appearance. However, its allure extends further with various options, allowing you to customize the material, strap, shape, and even the logo, catering to diverse styles.

Is the Celine Triomphe worth it? Absolutely. Its clean, minimalist design complements a wide range of outfits, exuding quiet luxury through fine craftsmanship. Despite its statement logo, the bag maintains an understated elegance synonymous with the French fashion house. Not only is the Triomphe durable, holding up well according to bag enthusiasts, but it also ages gracefully, showing minimal signs of use.

Pia Wurtzbach With The Celine Triomphe Purse.
Pia Wurtzbach with the Celine Triomphe purse.

Conclusion.

Celine’s presence today extends globally, boasting nearly 178 stores worldwide and partnerships with esteemed department stores like Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, and Galeries Lafayette. This wide-reaching network ensures that Celine’s exceptional designs are accessible to fashion enthusiasts worldwide.

From its humble beginnings as a small children’s footwear boutique to its current status as a renowned ready-to-wear and leather goods brand, Celine’s journey is unparalleled in luxury fashion.

Whether you’re drawn to the iconic Phoebe Philo era or appreciate the influence of current creative director Hedi Slimane, Celine remains a timeless choice. Today’s pieces draw inspiration from the brand’s early years but with a modernized twist, showcasing the brand’s ability to evolve.

Investing in Celine handbags is a testament to their enduring appeal, representing a classic choice that withstands the test of time. Pre-owned handbags store SehaBags can help with some used classic bags in UK!

References

https://crfashionbook.com/fashion-a23321746-history-of-celine-brand/
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Photo references

https://luxfy.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-celine/
https://tresor-vintage.com/blogs/blog/timeless-elegance-redefined-the-evolution-of-celines-logo-and-monogram
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https://www.pursebop.com/simple-and-charming-the-celine-box-bag/
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https://www.preview.ph/fashion/what-is-the-celine-triomphe-and-why-do-celebs-love-it-a2204-20220930-lfrm

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