In 1945, the French designer Céline Vipiana and her husband, Richard, opened a boutique selling made-to-measure children’s shoes in Paris’s 11th Arrondissement. A few years later, they hired the cartoonist Raymond Peynet — famous in France for his illustration of two young lovers, known as “Les Amoureux” — to draw the atelier’s distinctive red elephant logo, which helped drive the brand’s early success. By the ’60s, the house had expanded into leather accessories, and in 1967 it presented its first women’s ready-to-wear collection, featuring effortless but elegant pieces that it referred to as “couture sportswear.” Then, one day in 1972, as Vipiana was driving around the city, her car broke down in front of the Arc de Triomphe. Stranded along the Place Charles de Gaulle, she noticed the intricate motifs on the wrought-iron chains encircling the perimeter of the monument. The ornamental links inspired her to create a new coat of arms, this one with two nested C’s facing in opposite directions. The crestlike decoration went on to become Celine’s now-iconic Triomphe emblem — and has appeared on everything from button-down foulards and rhombus-patterned cardigans to handbags and chunky gold chains.
In early 2018, the French designer Hedi Slimane, now 53, took over as the label’s artistic, creative and image director. He delved into the maison’s archives, reviving the forgotten Vipiana-era Celine and mixing its ’70s Parisian bourgeois heritage with his signature youthful edge: silk scarves, herringbone blazers and tweed culottes have been paired with slouchy Gen Z hoodies, brocaded military bombers or asymmetrical cut-out crop tops. This month, Slimane releases his new Maillon Triomphe jewelry collection, which pays homage to the 1972 logo: Made of yellow gold set with pavé diamonds, his slinky sautoirs, stud earrings, chain bracelets and double-chain necklaces feature a pared-down and polished adaptation of the original monogram. Delicate, lightweight and refined, each piece is a little bit rock ’n’ roll, a little bit Left Bank — and still as timeless as ever.