Céline Dion has been noticeably signaling that a new day has begun for her, using a time-tested universal language.
We don't mean music.
Rather, the French-Canadian singer, who's sold over 100 million records and is said to be worth roughly $630 million, has been busy expressing herself via high fashion—a branch of the arts long admired but rarely owned by the 49-year-old artist, who while always impeccably put together wasn't usually one to captivate with her outfits. She never even attended the Met Gala until this year!
But Dion's embrace of the whimsy and romance of fashion—so much so that every ensemble she wore on her recent trip to Paris Fashion Week was dutifully chronicled by fashion blogs and major news outlets alike—represents more than a new hobby for a star who can certainly afford to add more couture to her life. (However, her shoe closet may need a new wing...)
Though reminiscent of the many who've decided to make over their wardrobes in hopes that the life dictated by the fabulous new clothes will follow, Dion isn't out to rewrite the story of her life. Instead, she's kicking off her next chapter, one that for the first time in 30 years will not involve René Angélil.
Dion lost her husband of 21 years in January 2016 when he died following a long battle with cancer. She had known Angélil since she was 12, when, as a music producer, he heard a demo CD featuring her already powerhouse vocals. He became her manager and their relationship turned romantic when she was 19 and they married in 1994. Angélil would remain her manager until his illness forced him to step down; Dion put her Las Vegas residency on hold for a year between 2014 and 2015 to take time off to nurse him at home.
While Angélil's death was an awful blow to Dion and their three sons, René-Charles and twins Nelson and Eddy, witnessing the decline of the man who'd been with her every step of the way in life was devastating.
"It's been a tough journey," she told E! News in July 2016. "Like I say, many times, many people go through this, and you see your husband suffer for three years, and it's not what you want to see. So now I know he is well, and we live with him in a different way. And I see him through the eyes of my children every single day."
The months following his passing were devoted to celebrating his life and honoring his memory. Dion's first performance after Angélil died was at a tribute concert held at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace the following month. She returned to her show at the hotel, Céline, a few weeks later.
Sam Mircovich REUTERS
There were few performances she gave over the ensuing year that didn't reference Angélil in some way, including when she pointedly sang "The Show Must Go On" at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and René-Charles made a surprise appearance to present her with the Icon Award. Her career and her decades-long love affair with Angélil came full circle in a way when she returned to the Billboard Music Awards this year and sang "My Heart Will Go On" in honor of the 20th anniversary this year of Titanic and the smash-hit single off its soundtrack, the commercial pinnacle of Dion's career.
But life, like the show, has had to go on.
And while no one close to the couple while Angélil was alive could envision the two of them apart, those who love Céline must be happy to see her pressing forward. She released the French-language album Encore un soir last year and embarked on a new tour, Céline Dion Live 2017, in June. Her interviews and appearances are once again on the playful side, though she still graciously answers questions about Angélil and how her family is doing. In addition to flaunting her fashion sense, Dion cracked jokes, danced and spontaneously burst into song on set.
Of course, by the very fact of her being out and about, people are watching closely when it comes to who she's out and about with.
"I think I will probably grieve for the rest of my life," Dion reportedly told The Sun in April. "René has prepared me for all my life since I'm 12. I have never met another man in my life, never kissed another man in my life. I miss him a lot. I miss him a lot—for my partner, for the man I was embracing, kissing, making love with. [Sharing] my worries, my dreams ...' Now it [dating] is definitely too soon for me. I am definitely in love with [René], married to him. He's the love of my life. It's very difficult for me to see myself with another person. The love that I have for him, I live it every day."
So while more recent rumors that she was dating backup dancer Pepe Munoz turned out to be unfounded, there's no question that she's doing exactly as she feels while reacquainting herself with the world as seen through a solo lens.
A nude photo recently posted to Vogue's Instagram account that was taken during an otherwise clothed shoot with the singer couldn't signify a rebirth enough. Simultaneously exhibiting vulnerability and raw strength, Dion looked ready to take on the world, whether or not someone found her a robe!
Her collaboration with Vogue included blogging about her Paris Fashion Week looks with the hashtag #CelineTakesCouture.
"She comes down in the morning, we greet each other, and then based on her mood we'll choose her outfit for the day," Dion's stylist, Law Roach, informed London's Telegraph last month. "I've been working with her for a year now so I kind of know what she's in the mood for—she'll give me an impression that she's thinking jeans, or something really cool and relaxed, or some days she'll want to be more dressed up. It depends on the weather, and what she did last night!"
Enlisting a new stylist? Sounds as though someone was ready to double down on her passion for fashion, which has always included an appreciation for how clothing and accessories are made.
In fact, her next new project, the Céline Dion Collection, is reportedly debuting at Nordstrom this fall, starting with handbags and small pieces of luggage. "My collection is all about affordable luxury, and we've created beautiful designs with excellent quality, and I can't wait for everyone to discover all of this at Nordstrom in a few months from now," Dion said in a statement announcing the deal.
Roach also told the Telegraph in March, "She was going through a lot of tragedy and, these are her words, the dresses and the bags and these lighter moments have helped her with her recovery...Beyond anything else, it's just enough for me that this amazing woman has had a good time and that I could help in any way with her healing process."
Shopping is not called retail therapy for nothing. And at times there's no better way to show people what's on your mind without saying a word.