What does a superstar put in her handbag when she’s out on the town? I couldn’t resist asking Caesars Palace headliner Celine Dion what was in her bag when she launched her The Celine Dion Collection at Magic Project Women’s trade show at Mandalay Bay last Tuesday.
Our interview with the singer was posted Wednesday. When Celine, wearing an ivory romper with red hearts power suit by Schiaparelli and matching sky-high boots, unveiled her handbag, luggage and leather accessories line, she didn’t hesitate to give me a peek after I asked what a celebrity carries around.
Celine has a brilliant stylist, Law Roach, security, a limo driver and a team of assistants to deal with all the incredible demands made on her, so you’ll be surprised that what’s in her bag is very little:
She pulled out a wallet with an emergency $100 bill, hand sanitizer spray, lipstick, tissue to blot perspiration from her forehead, Altoids and Tom Ford powder — and that’s it. She travels light, but it’s all that she needs.
Fashion buyers joined media from around the world for the frenzy as she debuted her 200-piece collection, which also includes phone and tablet cases, clutches, wrist cuffs and luggage tags. Three pieces are now on presale at CelineDion.com, then it will be available in September in selected stores.
“I think my ideas were a little overwhelming, but my partnership with Bugatti has been great because they were so open about making me a part of it. I’m a woman who loves fashion, and their passion for fashion is as intense as mine. I’m extremely excited about this. Each bag has a symbol of my songs inside it showing a print of a soundwave from my voice.
“I didn’t just want my name on somebody else’s designs. Whether my suggestions were right or wrong, the creation process was fun, as they were very open to what I wanted. If there was anything I could not wear myself, I would tell them right away. I got rid of any little plastic, and we finished with leather or chains.
“Every one of the pieces has my personal touch, as I hope the bags give the fans another way to communicate with me. It was very important to reach my fans more because I’m not going to have cameras in my house when I take my shower. I want my fans to know that I will wear my creations. I’m going to use them, and I want to carry them around with me.”
Celine has deliberately kept the collection price conscious: “I insisted that it would be affordable. Prices start at $80. That was very important to me. I want people to think that I’m accessible, and this is the same with my products. I think that we all deserve to have access to something that looks like the fashion you’d buy in the big stores.
“I call all of these my lifestyle, and I hope that the brand will expand. Maybe it will lead to jewelry, shoes, boots like the ones I’m wearing — I love them — clothing, baby goods. I just want it to get better and better with every collection.”
She said that a few of her designs were based on her Las Vegas lifestyle: “It’s edgier. I know the trend now is to have stiff, but I just didn’t want to only have stiff purses. Sometimes you want really modern to be something easy, especially for a pouch. I put two compartments into my bags, one for the computer, the phone.
“It’s the details in the leather that’s important with soft because sometimes you put your purse on the floor, you come home, and it’s all stained with water — too bad the leather is gone. So I was determined that wouldn’t happen with mine.”
Celine raved about the fanny pack she created: “I have the twins in both of my hands, so this was something important to me when we go on trips or to Disneyland. We always need something for them, and there’s plenty of room in the fanny pack. Plus, it’s a very comfortable fit around the tummy.”
Celine designed the purses with her 90-year-old mother as an inspiration: “I thought of my mom a lot. She has shoulder problems, so I wanted to make sure she could carry them on the side and it wouldn’t interfere with her walker. Now she’ll kill me for saying that!”
Asked if she’d always dreamed of having a fashion line, Celine replied: “I never had a big plan. I didn’t have a vision because I was so young. I was onstage starting to sing when I was 5 years old, and by 12 I was already recording in French and English and on TV and onstage.
“So it was my career from the beginning. To be honest, I did not have time to think and say, ‘My life is to become a singer.’ There was no time; it was just destiny.” And she reflected on how she’d come through the tough year since her late husband Rene Angelil’s death from cancer.
“Life is short. Last year was a really tough time for my family. I’ve been through a tough time, and I don’t want to think about the bad for the rest of my life. I want to enjoy it. We’re responsible for our own act. I’m not going to be talking about what I don’t like. I’m going to be talking about the big moments to come. The design and fashion work helped me get through it.
“People have been extremely understanding and supportive. It was amazing compassion that came from around the world that gave my whole family the strength to get through it. I can keep busy knowing that Rene is right there.
“He and I were always 50-50, and he gave me a lot of tools to function and to be the best person I can be, the best artist I am, in competition not with others but with myself. I feel like he’s with me more than ever, and I know that he’s here with me on this project.”