In 1945, Céline Vipiana and her husband Richard opened a made-to-measure children’s shoe boutique on 52 rue Malte in Paris. With the company’s signature red elephant logo, designed by Raymont Peynet, this luxury shoe line was one of the first in the children’s shoe industry. The store was an instant success, and the couple opened three more stores by 1948.
By 1960, the Céline brand expanded with the launch of a new ready-to-wear sports line for women. This additional line was intended to revolutionize the fashion world by the company’s “fashion for everyone” philosophy, which sought to bring fashion to all social classes, not just the elite. Shortly thereafter, the company further expanded by including a line of adult footwear, leather goods, and gloves.
A few years later, in 1964, the Céline fashion house released a new fragrance, Vent Fou. Next was a release of the brand’s “American Sulky” line, an accessories collection that included Celine handbags and wallets, the success of which elevated the Céline name further in the fashion industry. Responding to the public’s interest in high-quality leather, founders Vipiana and Richard opened a factory in Florence where they manufactured leather goods using the highest quality production methods.
The year 1973 saw a new logo design for the House of Céline: an intertwined “C” on Sulky canvas. This new logo was inspired by the Arc-de-Triomphe. Around this time, Céline became the first luxury brand to expand to Japan, where it opened a store in Hong Kong. The Céline brand also expanded to several other international locations at that time, places that included Beverly Hills, Monte Carlo, Geneva, Toronto, and Lausanne.
In 1997, up-and-coming American designer Michael Kors was appointed Céline’s creative director and was also charged with the task of designing the brand’s ready-to-wear line for women. He acted in this role until 2004, during which time Kors revived the brand, giving it a modern femininity enhanced by extravagant accessories. He left Céline in 2004 to focus on his own brand design.
In 2008, luxury goods conglomerate LVMH’s president, Bernard Arnault, announced that British fashion designer Phoebe Philo would be the new creative director of Céline. Chief executive officer of LVMH’s fashion division, Pierre-Yves Roussel, said that Philo’s new role would give her a platform to express her vision. Philo released her debut ready-to-wear collection for the brand for the Spring/Summer 2010 collection at the illustrious Paris Fashion Week. The collection was received with critical acclaim. The line was characterized by its minimalism and functionality, and was dubbed by Vogue magazine as the “cool minimal trend.”
Philo’s career at Céline had a promising start, and her work at the fashion house was being noticed, resulting in her being receiving the Designer of the Year award from the British Fashion Council in 2010. She would also be honored the following year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America when they presented her with the International Designer of the Year award of 2011.
As of 2015, the Céline brand has one hundred stores distributed throughout the world. Céline products are also available through a select group of high-end departments stores, including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman in the U.S., Harrods of London, and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. A fashion tour de force, the brand’s line of luxury goods include the famous Celine handbags, with their characteristically boxy shape. Celebrities wearing Céline include Alessandra Ambrosio, Kate Bosworth, Hillary Duff, Fergie, Nicky Hilton, all of the Kardashian girls, Miranda Kerr, Rihanna, and Ashley Tisdale.