There’s only one way to describe the scene pre-show at Céline: fashion freneticism. Picture the poor editors who had been caught in the Paris marathon traffic, running in late, all the seats taken – oh mon dieu! Such is the power of Céline to promote the fear of missing out, missing quite possibly the most influential show of the season, that the atmosphere in the Tennis Club de Paris is tension personified.
Perhaps it is that pressure to be fashion’s pied piper that has made Céline's designer, Phoebe Philo, swerve away from the quiet style the label once stood for. Maybe it’s because the stripped-back, discreet Céline codes were copied so outrageously everywhere. Or perhaps it’s a reflection of the times we live in and Phoebe is retuning our taste to something more individualistic.
She threw everything at this collection. Like a pinball machine, ideas pinged and ricocheted off every outfit: embroidered trousers, giant tulip cuffs, big white trainers, zebra coats, saddle bags slung over the shoulder, liquid slip dresses in contrast colour, woven leather shoes, massive leather tote bags, ruched leather coats, feathers sprouting from a hem, poncho, quilt worn as coat, ferret/fox/reindeer drawings printed on shirts, knitted jumpsuit…
There was so much to take in, it was impossible to detect where her inspiration had come from, but the red thread running through it all seemed to be fashion at its most exuberant and the idea that being individual means wearing something different every day. Of course, we do wear different looks every day, but in this case it felt like each individual outfit was trying to win – be the centre of attention, the new must-have – and that had the effect of making the whole feel, dare I say it, fashion victim-y. It felt more in tune with the peacocks who prance outside the shows desperate to have their picture taken for social media purposes, than anything to do with women outside of fashion in the real world of work. Take the slew of dresses with pointy flattened breasts, the coats that unbuttoned to reveal bare shoulders and the long leather straps with huge fur pom-poms draped over the occasional shoulder.
Still, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a successful collection. Is there any such thing as too many must-haves?