Over the course of her 30-year career, we've seen Céline Dion in many guises — ingenue, diva, movie-soundtrack songstress.
But this most recent incarnation — couture connoisseur — might just be our favourite.
During this week's Haute Couture Week in Paris, Dion, 49, is being followed by Vogue, and the magazine's access is nothing short of fantastic.
So much so that Dion allowed them to take a snap of her between outfit changes, coyly covering the more explicit parts of her body while revealing just how fantastic she looks.
Here's a little naked fact to ponder while Celine Dion changes looks between shows: for the past five years she has worn haute couture near exclusively for her own performances (in Las Vegas and on her current "mini-tour" of Europe). She performs a minimum two hours a night, five or six nights a week, dancing and curtseying and generally gesticulating sans abandon, in handmade, hand-beaded delicacies designed solely to walk a catwalk or a carpet (and often with handlers). For Celine's orders, the houses send teams to Nevada for typically three fittings, before the garments are ultimately finished in her local, private atelier. Armani Prive, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, Versace...only a partial list. Everyone, basically. In Vegas, Velcro panels are added to allow for her ribcage to expand or for a quick outfit change. Micro straps of elasticized chiffon prevent a slit from becoming a sloppy situation mid-squat. Shoes—always heels, never platforms—are ordered one size smaller (she is normally a 38) and refitted with metal shanks. Says Celine, "We have to make haute couture industrial." And, more enigmatically: "The clothes follow me; I do not follow the clothes." Which is to say: the haute couture, with all its fragility and handcraft, has to perform professionally for Ms. Dion. And privately as well. Years ago, Celine bought a classic little black dress from the Christian Dior atelier when the house was overseen by John Galliano. It is simple, falling to mid calf, and narrow as can be with just a hint of stretch. It requires a minimum of jewelry, a statement bracelet or perhaps one of the major diamond rings she designed with her late husband Rene Angelil: two pear cuts set in a wide pave band, or two hearts of diamond and emerald abstractly interlocking, on a cushion of yet more diamonds. This LBD forces you to walk one foot in front of the other. This is a dress Celine knows well and clearly loves, the simplest evocation of the private luxury of couture and the total antithesis of the red carpet hoopla that attends the union of fashion and celebrity. It is also the dress she wore to Rene's funeral. #CelineTakesCouture Photo by @sophfei.
But perhaps just as interesting is the caption that accompanies the picture, which points out exactly how much Dion knows about couture, thanks to the multitude of outfits she wears while performing — and what she has done to them.
"In Vegas, Velcro panels are added to allow for her ribcage to expand or for a quick outfit change," notes the magazine. "Micro straps of elasticized chiffon prevent a slit from becoming a sloppy situation mid-squat. Shoes — always heels, never platforms — are ordered one size smaller (she is normally a 38) and refitted with metal shanks."
"What is making the people who are interested in fashion now interested in me when I have always been interested in fashion?" So asks Celine Dion en route to the Christian Dior haute couture show, security guards in tow. She wears a tunic and mid calf skirt, tucked and belted and elevated by thigh high black boots. She has done her own makeup--as is her way--but her precise and dramatic eye contouring is obscured by the massive Dior gold shades selected by her stylist Law Roach (@luxurylaw). ("Why did you make me wear makeup if I was going to wear glasses like this?") Celine began working with Law a little over a year ago, after her husband Rene passed and she began the long road of living again with great loss of a partner ("an amazing man") but also the incredible blessing of "the quality of the time we spent together." More on that later. For now it is enough to know that while Law may have contributed to the answer to Celine's original question--why dion mania now?--the answer clearly lies with the lady herself. She keeps a master file divided into mini files of pages torn from magazines. She circles looks from collections special issues, turns down pages, and despairs when a look or accessory is not produced and the sample unbuyable. Celine Dion knows clothes. (She is also at a point in her life where she can enjoy them. Going to a fashion show "gives me a bit of freedom when my life has been work, discipline, hard hard work.") Today at @dior there was a little work (celebrity gridlock in and out, intense heat which is never ideal with leather) and a lot of fun. Celine admires Ruth Bell's gamine crop ("I really want a haircut like that"), the flatform boots ("the strength today!"), a wool coat dress for day with an open assymetric neckline ("like a calla lily"), the mousseline peering out from the long belted coats. After she said, "I forgot the jungle, the theme, I don't care. I am not buying the animals, the trees. But the clothes?" she smiles. "I am already broke." More on that later, and the significance of one legendary CD to another.... #CelineTakesCouture Photo by @sophfei.
The other shots the publication has put out under the hastag #CelineTakesCouture are equally insightful, from Dion's self-aware musings ("What is making the people who are interested in fashion now interested in me when I have always been interested in fashion?") to her penchant for putting her emotions completely out there for all to see.
Celine Dion doesn't try to hide her feelings. Her candor is one of her many charms, coupled with lovely manners and an emotional transparency that's unique in anyone (let alone a global popstar for over 30 years). Last year at the haute couture show for Giambattista Valli, she sang, clapped, oohed and cooed, before ultimately going backstage post-show to weep with Giamba and his mama. "No one else was applauding," she recalls slightly sheepishly as she waits to enter the Petit Palais for this summer's Valli catwalk. She is joined by a featured dancer in her European show by the name of Pepe Munoz. Pepe is a Spaniard, originally from Malaga; he is also a budding fashion illustrator (@pepemunozillustrations). Celine was introduced to Pepe by Las Vegas show folks she knows through her butler's wife, who is a dancer herself. ("All the people I meet," says Dion of her Vegas social life, "are acrobats, dancers, or divers. That's family.") Now the two are fast pals, inseparable onstage (her in a jeweled, super-heroic unitard, him in his basic helpless hotness) and off. And so when, this season, Celine decides to express her exuberant enthusiasm for Valli's work it is by making flamenco hand signals to Pepe, who is across the aisle, and his front row neighbors, actress Rossy de Palma and the esteemed Spanish choreographer Blanca Li. And there are far too many runway winners to count. A delicate tiny floral tee-shirt of fully embroidered tulle worn with a collar or harness of black pailettes. Ball dresses of chantilly lace, pleated tulle, or broderie anglais, cut high in the front, trained in the back. This is a full-on Celine show in every sense. Celine's hands are twirling; Pepe's hands are Voguing; Rossy is inexplicably doing scissor kicks.... The models (the lucky ones!) are gliding by in ballet shoes, but the dancing is all going down in the seats. When it ends, Pepe is in tears. Blanca is in heaven. And Celine is saying that next year, if she is on tour in Europe, she will ask to have the whole week of the shows off from performing. "But they won't let me," she laughs, "for fear I will spend too much money!" #CelineTakesCouture Photographed by @denisetruscello.
And while she's always been someone whose look sets her apart, since hooking up with stylist Law Roach about a year ago, Dion's fashion game has gone to the next level, like in the Stéphane Rolland Haute Couture she wore to sing "My Heart Will Go On" at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.
Meanwhile, we mere members of the public can try to get a piece of her magic when her new line of accessories, including handbags and luggage, comes out this summer at Nordstrom.
For now, we're just happy to sit back and see what she wears next.
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