In February it was falsely reported that Phoebe Philo would be exiting Céline after months of speculation around her position. LVMH quickly quashed the report with an internal memo which scathed “poor journalism” and “dubious sources”, asserting that Philo is “committed” to the house. In March at Paris Fashion Week, Philo charged onwards with an exceptional collection. Presenting the show at the Tennis Club de Paris, models walked across the court to a chorus of soft-rock.
There were a few oddities. This wasn’t so much about newness, it was about perfecting the previous work, adding a few things here and there. Philo spoke about “finding stillness” backstage, which was a perfect antidote to the rest of the fashion industry, which is currently in flux. We’ve seen Philo dance with relaxation in her work before—the memorable spring 2011 collection, a decent example—and this season she was back to that, after last season’s brief (hideous, in my personal opinion) detour to a music festival. Out came the first model, swathed in an encrusted orb-like knit sweater, swishy palazzo trousers and a roll-neck top. More of those palazzo pants proceeded down the makeshift runway, slashed in most cases.
Although presented as fall, the clothes were imbued with a languorous summer mindset. Foregoing seasonal collections? It sure seems the way the fashion industry is moving. The airy fabrics used, from the feather-light shirting to the crushed silk dresses and the stretch-fabric dresses, this collection was more June than December. However, it’s always summer somewhere, winter elsewhere. There wasn’t a hefty offering of wintery garb, but Philo made sure to pepper a few statements throughout: a boiled wool coat in a subtle cream; a camel-coloured fur coat with a mismatched nylon and croc panels. Light leathers were presented in a dark cornflour blue—inoffensive, suitable for the superrich. Crossbody satchels and sandals will be sure to drive sales through the proverbial roof.
Commerciality is the end goal with fashion—whether you like it or not. Clothes are designed to sell; these ones were destined to sell. Phoebe Philo’s feminine mastery has redefined womenswear luxury over the past ten years. She creates lifelong pieces. But like every designer, some collections are more questionable than others. This season was a muted offering, compared to the past. It moved quietly, it didn’t sweep you off your feet.
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com