The Celine store opened on Rodeo Drive last weekend not with a shout, but with a whisper, which is appropriate for the LVMH-owned fashion brand that helped usher minimalism back into fashion under the direction of press-shy designer Phoebe Philo.
There was no Champagne-soaked, celebrity-studded opening bash to celebrate the new arrival at 319 N. Rodeo Drive, and no press release blasted to the four corners. Just a few discreet advertisements and billboards around town announcing the new store would be coming in March.
Architecturally, the store is understated, like the clothes, with naturalistic marble accents. The space is divided into two sections, with a fitting room in the middle. Front and center are Celine’s covetable handbags, including the Luggage Totes, Trapeze bags and Trio cross-body bag in different color and skin combinations. The newest-looking style is a knotted lambskin clutch, in the surprising color combo of red and baby blue ($1,650). But be warned: “We don’t do holds,” a sales clerk advised a would-be handbag shopper. In other words, move fast or risk losing out to a Kardashian.
Glass cases contain leather pouches in different sizes and colors, and a limited selection of jewelry that does not include, at least not yet, the leather twist cuffs from the runway.
Also up front is a rack of clothing from the spring runway collection, which had an haute slacker vibe, mixing precious-looking fabrics with rough finishes. A sleeveless white top accented with slivers of black leather ($1,050) is a standout, as is a blush-colored slip dress ($1,750), and a twist-front top with an unfinished hem ($1,250). Basic white pants are $1,050 and a sweatshirt $1,250.
In the back room is a rack of rich-looking classics, including a crisp white button-down shirt with an arched blue hem ($780), a black-and-white striped tunic with the casualness of a T-shirt, but actually rendered in leather ($3,600), and a leopard pony hair coat with zip-off panels to adjust the length ($9,000).
On shelves along the sides, Philo’s witty spring shoes are showcased, including the now-famous, fur-lined, Birkenstock-like sandals ($895) and fur-covered high heels ($5,000) in pale yellow or pink, as well as slip-on, pony hair sneakers that riff on Vans ($720). But my personal favorites have to be the nude-colored pumps with anatomically-sculpted toes, complete with red toenail polish ($995). For when you’re too lazy to get a pedicure.
Celine, 319 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 888-0120.