Following a three-year hiatus, the former Celine designer is back – with her own LVMH-backed label
We may not have won the match last night, but there was at least some good news to wake up to this morning: that Phoebe Philo is back – with her own LVMH-backed label.
Perhaps one of the most popular designers in contemporary fashion, Philo is best known for working creative director of Chloé from 2001 to 2006 and then as creative director of Céline from 2008 to 2018, where she was widely celebrated for designing collections that centred women. So it’s unsurprising that her return to fashion has causing something of a social media furore.
“Philo’s clothes were not just simply for women,” wrote Cathy Horyn in The Cut, upon Philo’s departure from Céline, “they were also about women – their distractions, their routines, the way they stuff a bag under an arm or concoct an outfit out of a dress and trousers, their sideways longing for red-lipped glamour, their disdain for basics, their love of uniforms, their wisdom and maturity. It was all there, every season, expressed in the clothes.”
Often praised as revolutionary, Philo designed 17 collections over her tenure at Céline, as well as creating numerous campaigns, which were predominantly produced in collaboration with the German photographer Juergen Teller. Perhaps the most famous of these starred octogenarian author Joan Didion in what will surely go down in fashion history as one of the most important, and memorable, campaigns of the 2010s. Since stepping down from Céline, Philo has been largely quiet – and so today’s announcement has been met with real excitement.
“Being in my studio and making once again has been both exciting and incredibly fulfilling,” Philo said in a statement that was released on the Business of Fashion. “I am very much looking forward to being back in touch with my audience and people everywhere. To be independent, to govern and experiment on my own terms is hugely significant to me. I have had a very constructive and creative working relationship with LVMH for many years. So it is a natural progression for us to reconnect on this new project.”
And while she’s promised “clothing and accessories rooted in exceptional quality and design”, much remains to be seen – whether, for example, this label will centre on womenswear, offer mens- and womenswear, or clothing that disregards gender entirely. What we do know however, is that one of the most interesting contemporary designers has returned to fashion and that this is excellent news.