There’s a reason why Levon Hawke, the latest muse for Celine artistic director Hedi Slimane in his ongoing Portrait Of… series, looks so familiar. The 21-year-old actor’s chiselled jawline, full lips and curtain-cut blonde hair are the genetic legacy of two of the biggest icons from the 90s: Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
During his time at Celine, Slimane has become the master of blending nostalgia with modern aesthetic currencies. The designer who was at the heart of the indie sleaze period and also behind its second coming has deftly managed to transform Celine into a cultural nexus exploring the juncture of art, fashion, ideas and the personalities that embody a specific message for the moment.
It also highlights the role of the image as a philosophy behind Slimane’s work at Celine. An avid photographer himself, Slimane reveals as much of himself in these as he does his subjects.
In the words of Susan Sontag, “to take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
The series featuring Levon is Slimane at his most nuanced: rather than trying to hide the actor’s patrimony, Levon’s parentage is front and centre. The rooftop setting, shot holding the guitar and the tank top are almost shot for shot from his father’s film Reality Bites.
But the shoot also highlights the flow of Celine’s menswear offering, going from relaxed grunge to a disaffected take on formal codes with Slimane’s signature rock and and roll interpretation.