‘Beauty and friendship,’ said Phoebe Philo, backstage, after her incredible spring / summer show.
She said everything in 31 looks. About her as a designer – mature, confident, focused. About her, personally – calm, reflective, sensitive. And about fashion today – minimalism, or the need for less, and where it’s heading next.
It was her most personal collection to date. ‘It felt like a journey; the team really came together, and I had a baby, so it was very much about supporting each other, being there for each other,’ she told us.
All that sensitivity was threaded through the seams of these tender clothes, through the gentle twists of black satin across the chest, through the fine skein of black net threaded through a simple white t-shirt, and through the frayed hem of a long black dress, loose threads left hanging.
This was a breakout from her hitherto spare, structured, almost solid clothes that have been a byword for minimalism and at the forefront of fashion for so long. The fluidity of this collection, with its pale satins and silks rippling down the catwalk, was a riposte, if any were needed, to the tinge of criticism that has shadowed the stiffness of some of her former collections.
It felt free, liberated. And autobiographical – though, it wasn’t, she said – but those slouchy masculine trousers that hung from the hip, or that simple black suit with slightly cropped kick-flared trousers which opened the show, looked like just the type of clothes Phoebe herself might have worn during the early 1990s. She might have also worn those shoes, too – had she been able to find them – a kind of luxury Birkenstock sandal with a fur in-step in white, red or black or the heeled Margiela-esque version in orange or yellow fur. Their immediate It factor had everyone in a frenzy backstage and will no doubt go on to fill the Celine coffers. As will the new bag, a squashy leather handheld clutch with a fold-over top, like that of a humble brown paper bag.
This was a fully resolved collection that will keep Celine at the top of everyone’s wish list and Phoebe Philo on fashion’s frontline.