Back in the Game: Philo Returns

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

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Marco Gobbetti

Photo By Courtesy Photo

“For a design point of view, it’s very considered, and when it’s merchandised and styled, I hope it’s accessible,” she said. “I want to make the experience of buying and wearing clothes an easy experience. There’s a soberness to it, and a classicism to it. I hope the pieces will be relevant for a while to come.”

For a woman who once experimented with more out-there personal style early in her career, up to and including gold teeth and long fingernails, Philo has certainly toned down, grown up — and maintained her arm’s length rapport with the media-saturated and hype-ridden fashion world.

“I don’t need to be around fashion to be inspired,” she said, describing her time-out from the industry as “lovely.”

“I didn’t really follow fashion. I don’t think I ever really have, though. I don’t buy fashion magazines and read them cover to cover,” she said matter-of-factly. “It’s been a very calm time and very real. It was about some time for myself, which gives me a lot of strength now.”

Since accepting the creative director post last September, a sign that LVMH kingpin Bernard Arnault is serious about revving up his second-tier brands, Philo has been building her design team, which is based in London at her request.

“London is where I personally feel very happy, and it’s home,” she said. “It’s where my family is. Also, I think it’s really interesting, the idea of doing something with a French brand out of London — to try and break out of the old French house system.”

The shift, along with undisclosed changes in production, has created redundancies in Paris, and a reorganization that will see up to several dozen Celine employees from the design studio and atelier lose their jobs, according to sources.




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