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Women's Fashion / Fashion Equations

Céline S/S12 Womenswear

A mathematical guide to the key inspirations and references in designers' collections by Laura Bradley, illustrated by Tom Baxter

Céline S/S12
Céline S/S12 Illustrations by Tom Baxter

Since her appointment at Céline two years ago, Phoebe Philo has placed inspiration books on the seats of editors' chairs, bursting with brilliant abstract references. Of course, for our first Céline Fashion Equation we thought it more fun to come up with our own visual references, including the Queen of Hearts, a patchwork quilt and an antique chair...

Since her appointment at Céline two years ago, Phoebe Philo has placed inspiration books on the seats of editors' chairs, bursting with brilliant abstract references. Of course, for our first Céline Fashion Equation for S/S12, we thought it more fun to come up with our own visual references for the 32-part collection.

One of the most striking looks came midsection: three tops with bright red hearts incorporated into the design, complimented by red nails and a simple red envelope clutch. The shape of the heart reflecting the sculptured, three-dimensional look of the collection; a distinct departure for Philo. "We accentuated the bits that felt strong to accentuate, tried to create some new proportions," she explained. Her hearted girls were like modern versions of the Queen of Hearts that feature on a pack of playing cards. First used in ancient China, the four Queens in a pack of cards have all been depicted by hearts, many of them wearing a dress with a heart positioned across the chest area. Imagine a Céline pack of playing cards. Chic.

"Philo's hearted girls were like modern versions of the Queen of Hearts that feature on a pack of playing cards"

Another interesting technique was Philo's patchwork leather top. Dating back to ancient Egypt, patchwork was originally used for quilts, bags and wall-hangings. Philo's use of the technique involved combining autumnal shades of butter soft leather for a highneck top. Leather, which has become one of the house's trademarks, was used throughout the collection for a belted dress, a biker jacket and two-colour finely pleated skirt.

The third visual reference came to mind after close inspection of the collection. The opening cropped pants and a two-piece suit used a delicate floral embroidered fabric akin to the one used for the seat and back of an ornate, antique chair. A heavy choice for a spring collection, but in actuality the designs are surpsingly light.

Laura Bradley is the commissioning editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.

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