Phoebe Philo is the reason you like your trousers to be loose and relaxed, your trainers to be Stan Smiths and your handbags to be hardware-free. She’s the reason why you wore Birkenstocks and normcore two summers ago, are experimenting with the kick-flare trouser and ribbed knits now, and are considering buying those funny ballet-slipper like shoes with the block heel. She’s that rare designer who has the power to consistently create new ideas that trickle down the fashion flagpole, get referenced and copied, and eventually become new trends. She impacts not just the kinds of ideas we buy into (a slip dress one moment, a bell bottom the next) but the overall shape and silhouette of the clothing we wear.
And while her autumn/winter 16 Céline collection didn’t reveal any huge surprises, there was enough newness that's worth picking apart here for the impact it might have later. Here are five key elements from the show that might influence what you wear and how you style it.
1) The new trouser
It’s been seven years since Phoebe first revealed her tailored flared trouser for the brand. Since then, she’s tweaked it ever so slightly from year to year, and each time the look spreads and reinterpretations by other brands abound. This season, she refined the mega-wide leg she showed for resort, which looked equally amazing and tricky to wear. Her autumn trouser is more fluid, with a swingy bell bottom and slits up the sides that somehow make the trouser appear more lean and lithe (and therefore easier for non-model body types to pull off).
2) The new neutral of choice
It’s safe to say that brown is the new black. We’ve seen lots of shades of chocolate and caramel this show season and Céline put the exclamation mark on the trend with a series of unfussy coats and button-down shirts in the colour, which heightened the sense of utility to her pieces.
3) The leather trench
With the season awash in bulky shearling coats, Phoebe’s leather trenches practically looked revolutionary. They were simple enough (roomy shape, substantial, vaguely Seventies-influenced lapels), came in two shades of blue and were entirely wearable.
4) The oversized shirt
Imagine the kind of men’s shirt you might find at a big and tall shop (wide collar, even wider cuffs) and you pretty much have what Phoebe showed here. So big it fit like a tunic or dress, she used the button down shirt as a long layer on top of even longer trousers. It’s the kind of thing that looks awkward at first and then like so many other Philoisms, makes perfect, covetable sense later.
It’s historically been the stuff of Eighties figure skating costumes and bad bridesmaids dresses. But here, ruching got a makeover and spruced up chic silk dresses. In Phoebe's hands it was the modern, less-expected answer to the ruffle and anything but tacky.