History and Background
French ready-to-wear and luxury goods brand Céline got its start in 1945. It was created by Céline Vipiana and her husband Richard as a made-to-measure kids’ shoe boutique. It was an immediate hit and by 1948, there were four stores.
This success continued. In the 1960s, the brand launched a ready-to-wear line which pioneered the sportswear genre. Women’s bags, shoes and gloves were also offered at this time. The fragrance Vent Fou and the American Sulky range of accessories were launched during this period.
Céline’s global expansion began in 1973 with the opening of boutiques in Monte Carlo, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lausanne, Toronto and Beverly Hills. There are 140 Céline stores across the world and the brand is also distributed by high-end retailers like Barney’s New York, Harrods and Bergdorf Goodman.
The label has had a range of designers over the years. Vipiano remained head designer until 1997 when Michael Kors took over as women’s ready-to-wear designer and creative director. This followed the acquisition of the label by the LVMH group.
Kors left in 2004 to focus on his own brand and was replaced in 2005 by Italian Roberto Menichetti. Croatian designer Ivana Omazic stepped into the role in 2006 and was followed by Pheobe Philin in 2008. Philin, a former design director at Chloe, focused Céline around minimal, functional clothing.
Céline is known for a clean, elegant aesthetic. Whether it is clothing or handbags, the designs are timeless.
Best Known For…
The Céline Trapeze is a well-known “it bag”. Its iconic wings mean it will be the centre of attention but its otherwise simple craftsmanship means it will never overwhelm the rest of your look. Pair it with jeans and a tee or your snazziest outfit. It’ll look great either way. It comes in four sizes (mini to large) and in a range of colors. Both suede and calfskin options are available.
New Céline bags can range from $1,250 for the Small Trotteur Shoulder Bag to $4,200 for the Nano Luggage Shoulder Bag in lizard and calfskin. Discounted bags can be found on sites like Bluefly and Tradesey. Ebay is, of course, also an option.
Best Bang For The Buck
Brand new Céline bags do not come cheap. If you can afford it, the Luggage Tote is an excellent choice. It has a simpler shape than the Trapeze but it’s a well-made bag with classic lines. It comes in a range of sizes, colors and materials.