I Can’t Stop Thinking About Phoebe Philo’s Celine
...and I implore you to go down the Celine-clad rabbit hole with me by looking at some of her most defining fall collections.| November 15, 2017
Celine has taken a fair bit of space on my mind lately. Maybe it’s because of Christopher Bailey’s impending departure from Burberry, which adds further fuel to the rumour mill that Phoebe Philo will be leaving Celine for the British heritage brand.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been craving simplicity of late, what with the excess stimulus happening around the world, and Philo’s groundbreaking reinvention of what minimalism is and can be speaks to me more than ever before.
Maybe it’s simply because when inspiration runs dry, I like to return to the classic cuts, and no one does a classic cut quite like Philo at Celine – if you’ve ever tried on any one of her floor-grazing, straight-leg trousers, you’d know – which led to an hour or so of poring over Celine’s collections since she took over the reins, hoping to gather more than a few styling ideas.
Philo left Chloe for Celine in 2009. While her first collection wasn’t a runway show, people sat up and took notice nonetheless. She came to make a statement: you don’t need flourish or pomp to stop people in their tracks. The years followed and her collections just kept getting better and better, so much that in a matter of seasons, she created the “Celine look” that would be copied and referenced the world over, luxury, high street and mass market alike, whether consciously done or not. Philo’s Celine was and is still the benchmark of understated, painful cool. I know I speak for the majority.
With her departure looming closer than ever and rumours swirling thick, a tribute seemed appropriate. No, necessary. Yet, I didn’t know where to start with the tribute. Pick the best looks? There would be too many. Pick that one turning-point collection? Again, too many to round down to just a single one. So, in the spirit of fall and keeping to the idea of looking at archives – I’m using the term very liberally, so sue me – I looked at three defining fall collections in succession: 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The first was the season she used sleeves as shoulder wraps and waist cinchers, spoken through a palette of muted yellows, pinks and greys, but not without surprises in the form of contrast checks like the giant woven bags one sees at night bazaars. (Sorry Balenciaga, you weren’t the first.) Silhouettes were strong, yet the mood was soft. How many times have we seen that bulky cropped sweater and fit-flare skirt everywhere else since?
The second takes a turn for warmth, print and subtle textures. Philo proved with this collection that you can give her a black coat and some white buttons and she can work magic. Lines were sinewy, even when the fabric was heavy. Then, there were the speckled top-to-toe knit looks that were a whole class of pyjama dressing on their own that no one else has managed to do the same since. (Yoyo wore the beige version to one of her first few fashion weeks. I think it quite literally stopped traffic.)
The final gave a plethora of personas that you’d want to put on throughout fall, like the “snow princess” fur cuff coats. Zebra stripes, armpit bags, colour blocked slip dresses, leather trench coats, cushion-y down dresses (because why not) and giant bell sleeves that spawned various interpretations everywhere in the seasons that followed.
Philo’s reign at Celine is one for the history books. Wherever she’s going next, we don’t even have to bet that legions will follow – they just will. But, contrary to that one Sam Smith song that has been playing constantly on the radio, we’re just not too good with good-byes when it comes to Philo’s Celine. Whether for the sake of nostalgia or prepping your heart for what could be farewell or just a dose of fall looks, past season be damned, take a wander through the gallery above for some of her best looks from the three collections.
What To Read Next: Then vs. Now: Model Off-Duty Style, It Doesn’t Get Easier Than The Pantsuit and All My Fashion Week Looks – The #PFW Edition | Cover Image: The Fashion Spot, Runway Images: Vogue.com