Are you even a contemporary fashion brand if you’re not chasing a slice of the Céline pie?
With the exit of Phoebe Philo, an arbiter of women’s style, from the French house designers, retailers, and stalwarts have been responding accordingly. Designers like Lemaire and Victoria Beckham have stepped up to lead the customer into the next generation of fashion. Her right hand man, Daniel Lee, is heading to Bottega Veneta. Retailers are stocking Loewe and Jil Sander, which are considered close substitutes by buyers. The ‘Philophiles,’ as they are affectionately known as, are flocking to said designers and retailers to satiate their appetite for luxury that is at once elegant and quiet. I talked to someone who shared a Céline experience. “I never felt more understood by a piece of clothing.”
In London, for fall 2018, Japanese designer Yasuko Furuta, designer of Toga Archives, is lobbying for that customer to come to her with generous silhouettes, cerebral cuts, and vaguely peculiar clothes that subvert sophistication.
(‘Unwrap, Typical, Release’ was the name of the collection though it remained unclear how it correlated to the clothes.)
There were whiffs of Céline with the strong shoulders. The patterns, with florals and gold chains, on silk shirts and skirts were resemblant of concepts Demna Gvasalia has been exploring in his Balenciaga shows.
The quirkiness of Furuta is a singular concept. Slicing skirts diagonally and excavating circular panels of fabric from blazers felt deliberate rather than naive. Where she did use the patterns mentioned above it was deft: carved panels exposed silk patterns, skirts were enriched with the handkerchief hem of an internally built skirt poking out.
Furuta designs for the chaos in women’s life. It’s a similar sociological concept that defined Philo’s Céline iteration, or any of her understudies. It contributes to the woman who can dress in something dependable. At Toga, the styling can often be chaotic. It produces two effects. The first is a paroxysm of exhilaration. “That with that! Who would’ve thought?” The other is a mournful sigh at the sight of an overwrought outfit.
It’s in the moments of distillation, when the theatrics are mostly pared back, that Furuta shines, glittering like the jade green sequins she proposed.