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  • Source: GQ
  • Date: OCTOBER 8, 2019
  • Format: ONLINE

The Coolest New Gallery Is Your Local Celine Store

Designer Hedi Slimane's return to fashion has been momentous for menswear. And this time he's bringing his rarefied taste in contemporary art to bear by outfitting Celine boutiques around the world with the work of his favorite artists.

Slimane has purchased or commissioned some 26 pieces of art for Celine stores—mostly sculptures—much of it by young or mid-career artists. Like a hipster Albert C. Barnes, he collects with little interest in the market. Slimane is doing the art-fair circuit and frequently visits galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, refining his taste the way any other collector might. “That’s what makes his approach a little different than a more impersonal collaboration,” says Tuazon.

Oscar Tuazon’s Mobile Floor (2019) was commissioned by Slimane for Paris’s Grenelle outpost.

Slimane does not work with an art adviser, as many high-profile collectors do. Some of the artists are friends; others say they’ve never met him. Slimane is a self-serious guy, and on the surface the collection he’s building is filled with neo-brutalist stainless-steel-and-black-slag cubes. But if he can be inscrutable, his retail army sets the tone of the stores with a friendly mien that contrasts delightfully with that of cold front-of-gallery employees. At Celine, they stand ready to decode the art and get you into that sequined jacket. And the artists concur: “Contact is welcome,” Tuazon says of his piece. “It’s not fragile.” Try laying your hands on the art in a New York gallery.