Confirmed: Phoebe Philo is Staying Put At Céline

We’re celebrating by counting the many reasons why we love her


There is nothing worse than baseless speculation, and the deisgner rumour mill is spinning a little out of control. This morning however, WWD reported the joyfully received news that Phoebe Philo and Céline are to continue their long and fruitful collaboration, halting any speculation that Philo was eying up the exit door.

According to WWD, an internal memo, which was jointly signed by Céline CEO Marco Gobbetti and Philo, confirmed that the British designer and the company ‘are more motivated and committed than ever to their partnership and will continue to create beautiful products.’


Press-shy Philo is currently in Paris, implementing plans for a new interior concept for the brand’s magnificent showrooms in a 17th-century mansion on the Rue Vivienne, and preparing for her AW16 show on March 6 in Paris.

The ultimate girls-girl (or, more appropriately woman’s-woman), Philo took over the French fashion label in a blaze of publicity seven years ago, and transformed it into a global phenomenon almost overnight. Until Philo's arrival, Céline was floundering under Michael Kors, who stepped down in 2004. Beloved by the monied New York professional at the time, it was a French heritage maison lacking in any distinct signatures – versus Dior's New Look skirt, Chanel's bouclé wool suit or YSL’s Le Smoking jacket – until Philo took the reigns and transformed it into what came to be one of the most individual, and arguably the coolest brand of the noughties.


But it isn’t just her Céline (and Chloé before it) overhaul, or her array of knockout handbags that has garnered Philo legions of disciples. We reflected on how Philo's changed the way we dress, and the way we live, and came up with these:

1. The Master of Realism

By Kai Z Feng ELLE UK February 2016 Issue

Her first ever Céline collection was a starkly beautiful, breath of fresh air at a time when fashion needed a respite from recession, and the glamazon look of black leather and big shoulders that had cloaked the runways. Every collection since has nailed elegant, contemporary minimalism.

2. The Founder of Flats


She made comfortable shoes cool, and for that she is forever in our favour. From her fugly spring/summer 2013 ‘furkenstocks’, to this season’s stompy Chelsea boot, and her own inherent love of a Stan Smith, we have Philo to thank for the rise of the fashion flat.

3. Champions Brains and Beauty

Giving Céline poster girl Daria Werbowy a day off, for her AW15 campaign Philo chose none other than the immortal, deep-thinking, eighty-year-old, legendary author Joan Didion to front an incredibly cool, Jurgen Teller-shot campaign that celebrated smart women.

4. Family Comes First

When heavily pregnant with her son Arthur (now 3), Philo presented her AW 12 collection to a small group of journalists, rather than putting on a large scale catwalk at the international shows. She and her art dealer husband, Max Wigram, also have a daughter, Maya Celia Sally (12), and a son, Marlowe (8). Furthermore, she insisted on designing from a Georgian townhouse near her family home in London, and uprooted the brand’s design studio from its traditional home in Paris, where it still shows. We also like that her daughter is named after the poet Maya Angelou.

5. Keeps it Real

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‘A bucket of KFC,’ would be Philo’s death row meal. Or so she told Penny Martin in The Gentlewoman’s inaugural issue. 

If the unthinkable does eventually happen, and Philo renounces her role as Creative Director of Céline (we’ve withheld this until now but you may recall she left Chloé at the height of its fame), what would the designer do next? In our dream scenario, Philo will one day start her own line - something that may not be too far from reality. Her discussions with LVMH before joining Céline went on for a long time and began with the suggestion that she open her own label. Phoebe, if you’re reading this, we’ll make the Philo RTW launch number six. 

Photo: Getty

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