The wait is over. Phoebe Philo, lauded British designer and former creative director of Parisian houses Chloé and Celine, has returned, revealing her first collection for her eponymous London-based label today. The return, which is backed by luxury goods conglomerate LVMH and has been much-speculated and anticipated, was first announced in July 2021; last month, an initial launch date of September was pushed back to October 30. It was announced via a short email statement alongside a series of images.
The collection – or ‘edit’ as it is dubbed in the release – is described as part of a ‘seasonless, continuous body of work,’ of which drops like these will appear regularly. Spanning ready-to-wear, leather goods and accessories, the first edit, A1, will arrive in three drops beginning on 30 October 2023 and over ‘the months that follow’. There are 150 pieces in total.
A second edit, A2, will be released in Spring 2024. ‘Our aim is to create a product that reflects permanence,’ says the statement, which echoes her design philosophy at Celine, whereby ephemeral trends were largely eschewed for pieces designed to remain in the wardrobe for seasons – indeed years – to come.
Phoebe Philo reveals first collection
‘The Phoebe Philo business model is designed to create a responsible balance between production and demand,’ the statement continues. ‘For us, this means producing notably less than anticipated want.’ So far, it is an ambition that rings true – the shopping section of the website initially appeared to have crashed, a sign of the vast demand for Philo’s work (the issue has since been rectified).
The collection itself feels in many ways an extension of her work in Celine, comprising a series of elegant, just-off-kilter riffs on wardrobe classics – among them here mannish tailoring, wool overcoats, trenches and cargo pants – alongside those readily associated with the designer, like a roll-neck sweater pulled up to the chin, or square-toed loafers and capacious bags. There is also a play on the biker jacket, oversized, padded and cinched at the waist. 1980s-tinged, it is worn with a pair of shiny black polyamide leggings with a wave motif and tab detailing. Former Celine muse Daria Werbowy appears in the images, alongside a number of other models.
Other pieces are more unexpected, like a series of garments adorned with combed embroidery to give the appearance of fluff or fur (first across trousers, then enormous overcoats), or a trouser which unzips all the way down the back seam. A similar sensuality infuses an asymmetric silk dress, rising high on the thigh.
Philo rose to prominence when she took over from Stella McCartney at Chloé (a fellow Central Saint Martins graduate, she had previously been McCartney’s design assistant). It was at Celine, though, that the designer would achieve cult status, gaining a devoted following for her collections which created clothing primed for contemporary women’s lives. ‘I came about it through wearing it... it’s always that,’ she said after her A/W 2016 collection.
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Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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