On Tuesday, March 30, Rihanna went grocery shopping in Los Angeles wearing a quintessentially Rihanna outfit: Fenty heels, standout shades, and plenty of jewelry punctuated a denim miniskirt with a pair of boxers peeking out underneath. But it was Rih’s Celine button-down that sent fashion aficionados aflutter. The Hawaiian shirt, depicting a cluster of palm trees done in flamingo pink and a cheetah-esque yellow and black print, is, in actuality, derived from the painting Autobahn by the artist Tyson Reeder. It’s just one part of a summer 2021 seven-piece collaboration between Reeder and the Hedi Slimane-led French maison, which debuted on Celine’s e-commerce site this week.
Slimane and Celine sought out Reeder for the project after the Chicago-based artist showed two new works at his gallery CANADA, New York and at the Independent Art Fair last summer. The designer found that Reeder’s pastel-colored paintings, drawings, and sculptures of landscapes, animals, and human body parts would work well on the elegant, lightweight materials Celine was using in its clothing for upcoming seasons. The team chose Autobahn to be printed onto summer staples including a windbreaker, bucket hat, and cotton shorts that resemble swim trunks.
“The painting breaks into several clean graphic planes, with repeated forms and patterns that translated into fabric and embroidery more readily than some of my busier works,” Reeder explained over e-mail. “The print can be wrapped around the body and still retain some legibility as a single artwork—plus, the breezy palette and patterning in Autobahn has a Sigmar Polke-in-Key West vibe.”
The capsule is the first in a slate of upcoming artist collaborations that Celine is working on. But Reeder admitted that prior to his capsule collection with Celine, he’d mostly heard of the brand through the students he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“This project has drawn me more into Hedi and Celine’s history of working closely with visual artists, and I’ve been surprised how many of them are my friends or longtime art crushes,” he said. “Painters move along at a slow, tectonic pace, emerging from their caves once every few years to share their work. But I’ve been struck by the speed of fashion. The Celine collaboration has been an unexpected gift that kind of dropped from the sky in a truly strange and difficult year.”