Left to right: Celine Victoire bag, Celine Claude bag and Celine Heloise Cuir Triomphe bag all available in-store at Faradays Store

We explore the story behind Celine’s iconic logo, and share the Triomphe-adorned pieces to shop now

Fashion lore credits Celine’s recognisable Triomphe logo to a minor car accident in Paris in the 1970s. So what is the story behind this sought-after icon? And how has it impacted the house of Celine?

The year was 1973 and Celine Vipiana, founder of the now-iconic fashion house that carries her name, had just been in a minor collision on the Place de l’Etoile when she noticed a motif adorning the chain around the outside of the Arc de Triomphe. It was a moment that would change the visual identity of her brand forever. Fascinated by the subtle inverted ‘C’ link, Vipiana allegedly reached out to the City of Paris to seek permission to adapt the symbol as her house emblem, and soon, it was emblazoned across labels, on pieces of ready-to-wear clothing and on sought-after bags and accessories.

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Celine winter 23

Known then as the ‘Blazon Chaîne’, the symbol quickly gained icon status. Not only did it represent the deep ties between Celine and the city in which it was founded but it also spoke to the maison’s intrinsic spirit of victory and resilience, respect for history and timeless sophistication. It was a subtle marker of status, embodying that simple but undeniable nod to luxury that the French do so well. And it persisted for a number of seasons before eventually (and unfortunately) falling out of Celine’s collections altogether.

In fact, it wasn’t until fairly recently that the Blazon Chaîne was pulled from the archives of Celine to be given a new life as the ‘Triomphe’, gaining fresh meaning in the context of contemporary, 21st Century fashion, and bridging the gap between Celine’s rich history and its hugely impactful role as a forward-thinking player in the industry today.

Celine Victoire bag available in-store at Faradays

Back in 2018, when Hedi Slimane took the reins of Celine, the designer meticulously studied the maison and its origins in search of inspiration for his creative direction. There, in the brand’s archive, he realised that he was sitting on a piece of fashion gold; a symbol that hadn’t been utilised in nearly five decades, but that spoke perfectly to the unique vision that Slimane was bringing to this storied brand.

“The Triomphe emblem offers a perfect balance between the history of Celine… and the idea of commercial iconography that creates sell-out items each season.”

In Celine’s Spring 2019 show, titled ‘Paris La Nuit’, Slimane reintroduced the logo as the ‘Triomphe’ and adorned a series of simple, chic handbags with the icon as a gold clasp, a move that not only reinstated its standing as one of the maison’s central motifs, but that marked the start of what can only be described as the Triomphe era. Truly it was a pivotal, full-circle moment for Celine. The Triomphe exemplified Slimane’s sophisticated eye, as well as his commitment to honouring the brand’s history while anchoring it firmly within the contemporary landscape. With the Triomphe, the designer managed to both reaffirm Celine’s status as a leader in the luxury field, and remind everyone of the richness of its past.

Celine Triomphe cap available in-store at Faradays

It also, almost immediately, birthed a new ‘It’ bag. Very quickly, Slimane’s Triomphe design became one of the fashion set’s most sought-after styles, and since its introduction in 2019, its cache as a coveted symbol for luxury and refined design has only continued to grow.

According to Constance von Dadelszen, Creative Director of Faradays (the exclusive New Zealand stockist of Celine ready-to-wear) the brand’s Triomphe pieces, particularly accessories like belts, and any clothing that features the logo will sell out as soon as they hit the store, von Dadelszen explaining how the Triomphe speaks to such a wide cross-section of their customers and can look as modern as it can classic, depending on who is wearing it and how it is styled. “I think the Triomphe emblem offers a perfect balance between the history of Celine (I have a number of early-era Celine vintage pieces in my collection which feature the marque), and the idea of commercial iconography that creates sell-out items each season.”

Chic, timeless and imbued with history, Celine’s Triomphe logo is more than just an undeniably successful selling point for the brand. It is a symbol of Celine’s values, a representation of its Parisian origins and a testament to the ways in which Hedi Slimane’s clever creative strategy continues to drive the brand forward.

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