Hedi Slimane Stages a Desert Symphony for Celine’s Winter 2024 Men’s Collection

The dramatic short film arrives amid rumors that Slimane may be departing the luxury house.

Celine Homme winter 2024

No, that is not another trailer for a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival—it’s Hedi Slimane’s latest sartorially cinematic runway presentations. For his Celine Homme winter 2024 collection, the designer directed a dramatic, desert set epic titled, “Symphonie Fantastique.”

The name is borrowed from French composer Hector Berlioz’s 1830 symphony, which Leonard Bernstein once described as “the first psychedelic symphony in history,” more than 100 years before the free-love moment of the ’60s. According to the show’s notes, Berlioz’s work has long been an inspiration for Slimane, who first discovered the “Symphonie Fantastique” when he was just 11 years old, quickly becoming obsessed with the history and intricacies of the work. Berlioz composed the piece in Paris when he was just 26 years old in response to his relationship with the English actress Harriet Smithson. The young composer described the work as an “immense instrumental composition of a new genre,” though the piece’s modernity turned off many critics at the time who reportedly referred to it as “the most inconceivable strangeness that one could ever imagine.”


It is that piece—now almost 200 years old—that plays when a jukebox is dropped from helicopters in the center of a highway at the beginning of the short film. Given Slimane’s taste for the rock and roll aesthetic and surrounding culture, one might assume music from his former collaborators like LCD Soundsystem or The Libertines to emerge, but instead, it’s a symphony, adding to the drama of the setting.

The tune begins subtly—heavy with wind instruments—as a parade of Cadillacs emerges on a road intersecting the snow-capped mountains of the Mojave Desert. As the pace quickens and strings join the fold, models replace the cars, turning the open road into a catwalk. This time, Slimane’s edgy, California-style signatures are merged with Berlioz’s Paris and even a hint of Bernstein’s midcentury style. Lapel-less jackets cut a slim figure while tailored capes float in the wind. Those are contrasted by a double-breasted leather jacket, sturdy and unmoving. Cowboy-adjacent boots move the models forward, while a black fur coat protects one against the elements. Couture designs stand out against the stark background as crystal-encrusted elements shimmer under the sun, and golden paillettes and sequins add some of the only color to the collection. Elsewhere, a cowboy roams off-road in the desert, adding to the many layers of the presentation.


The video ends as the sun is setting, the headlights from the Cadillacs shining the last light on a caped model before the camera turns back to the jukebox to watch it go up in flames. It’s a dramatic ending, one some are reading as a possible farewell. Rumors have been circulating that Slimane may be leaving his role as Celine’s creative director for weeks now after a six-year tenure. If “Symphonie Fantastique” is, in fact, Slimane’s swan song, it would be a fitting one suggesting he’s ready to hit the open road and go wherever the world might take him.