There is just something about Phoebe Philo, something charismatic about her designs. She caused it once with Chloé, and she’s doing it again with Celine: a movement of transformation. Phoebe Philo has forever changed the scope of the fashion industry by providing exactly what we need and want at just the right moment. She has this amazing timing, and moreover, a talent for designing exquisite pieces that women snatch up in droves. And it is not just critics and industry who love it. The proof is in the sales: Celine’s fashion stock as a brand has gone through the roof ever since Philo took over. The collection has been selling out ever since her return. It is kind of crazy actually. I feel a little bit bad about this unabashed love for Phoebe Philo (as deserved as it is); she is quite a private person and probably prefers to keep producing excellent beautiful clothes than to be mobbed by the adoring masses.
And while, this collection is not my absolute favorite of hers (that goes to her very first: Celine Spring 2009 actually), Phoebe Philo continues to present new shapes and an easy structure to her collection. This is a softening of her strictly structured collections previously. Like Stella McCartney, she is certainly feeling the romantic seventies. While this influence does not come out as blatantly in hers as in other collections, there is an even greater ease about this particular spring collection. Spring 2011 follows the Moroccan-North African inspiration she had done for Resort 2010. And while that is not overtly apparent, the characteristics are there if one looks closely enough: “djellaba-caftan influence came in with her oversize top”s which can be traced in varying degrees to North Africa as well as Berber hoods or a “tufted cream hand-loomed halter.” She does not strive to be trite and create an “ethnic” collection. And I respect her for that. She strives to craft exquisite clothes that are refined, yet useful, to women. And Philo herself puts it quite succinctly what this collection is ultimately about: freedom.
What I love and appreciate is that she has adapted the movement that she had started. I can confidently state that Phoebe Philo is truly the one who had ushered us into this minimalist moment with quiet authority. And she is unhurried in shifting from it. That is where her impeccable timing appears once again. While the fashion world is reacting about her, whether that be mimicry or loud maximalist protest, Philo continues to design beautiful clothes with poise and certainty. In an industry with some interesting (and loud) characters, there is Phoebe Philo, calm amidst the storm. And she will continue to succeed in whatever design endeavors she attempts in the future precisely for that aplomb, talent, and impeccable timing.
There are many designers that I profess to absolutely love and loudly proclaim their talents (Proenza Schouler boys, Alexander Wang, Lee McQueen, Alber Elbaz), but there are none quite like Phoebe Philo. [But Jack + Laz? I still <<<3 you.]
Please read Sarah Mower’s review at Vogue.com as I took a couple themes from that.