Back in the Game: Philo Returns

Phoebe Philo's first designs for Celine will be unveiled in June.

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Phoebe Philo

Photo By Juergen Teller

PARIS — Phoebe Philo, one of the biggest fashion stars of her generation, is getting ready for her comeback after three years on the sidelines.

And her first designs for Celine, to be unveiled in June for the pre-spring and cruise seasons, sound like they’re in tune with the times, underlining how much the industry has changed.



Fireworks are out: Realism is in. “[Celine] never stood for flashy fashion. It always felt like it was pretty sober, and that feels really relevant,” Philo said in her first interview since taking the creative helm of the brand, owned by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. “It’s going to be more about a foundation for a wardrobe.”

For her debut pre-collections in particular, “I want it to be less about fashion and trend and to do something more about pieces and style,” she stressed.

Philo, whose hip-yet-girlish clothes and coveted bags catapulted Chloé into the designer big leagues, said she’s happy to be back at work after three years out of the spotlight and focused on her young family, Maya, 4, and Marlow, just 20 months.

And while she declined to show any sketches or clothes just yet, Philo discussed her approach at length.

“I’m designing the collection in capsules and there’s going to be a part of it based on iconic pieces,” she told WWD over a cappuccino amid the gilded splendor of the Ritz dining room here. In her inimitable mix of tomboy and chic elegance, Philo was wearing a “very small” men’s motorcycle jacket tossed over a loose, band-collared men’s shirt and a pair of cotton tuxedo pants from her Chloé days.

“I would like them to be investment pieces,” Philo said of her forthcoming collection, sounding serene and confident. “There’s going to be a big emphasis on trousers and jackets and blouses, and pieces that mix together. It’s also designed in such a way that it takes you through the day. It’s certainly how I dress, and it feels right.

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