The way that monograms have become such a huge part of luxury fashion is a testament to their enduring power. We may be moving towards monogram-lite fashion these days (cue all the slew of TikToks on quiet luxury) but monograms remain perennial brand identifiers. In the past few years, brands the likes of Versace, Balmain and Burberry introduced new ones—the latter initiated by former chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci.
One of creative, artistic and image director Hedi Slimane’s first undertakings at Celine was reviving its monogram.
The Triomphe Canvas was officially introduced as part of Celine’s autumn 2019 collection yet its origins date back to the '70s. Its name comes from the chains surrounding Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. The story goes that after a minor collision on Place de l’Étoile (now Place Charles de Gaulle) involving Celine founder Céline Vipiana, she stepped out of her vehicle and noticed the mirrored Cs embedded as part of the metal chains surrounding the monument. Co-opting the motif for her own, she applied it on a range of bags, accessories as well as ready-to-wear.
Slimane took this further with the Triomphe Canvas. The lightweight construction of a Triomphe Canvas piece—a canvas body trimmed with leather—makes one primed for anyone constantly on the move. Its durability is on par with Celine's leather offerings, but less precious in some ways that makes it better withstand some better over prolonged use. The leather on the Triomphe Canvas is poised to age and patina beautifully over time, while the canvas body takes on a bit more character with scuffs.
That's the appeal of the Slimane-era Triomphe Canvas. The monogram already feels timeless with each piece of the collection meticulously constructed to exude a vintage allure. Not only does this give the appearance of a vintage find, but it also paves the way for the legacy of the monogram in the vintage market. Fast forward a decade, and we're almost certain that you'd be able to find Triomphe Canvas pieces in vintage stores the world over.
The fact that it has only been less than five years since Slimane reintroduced the Triomphe Canvas, yet it's become so synonymous with the house speaks to its distinctive markings. In its classic tan colourway, the Triomphe motif is subtle; lighter colourways offer a more striking appearance of the motif. And of course, seasonal interpretations take on various forms and even artistic expressions.
But no matter what you'd gravitate towards, it's bound to be one that you'd surprisingly find more use out of than you'd think.