The former Céline creative director’s return has been officially announced. Here’s what we know so far
In July 2021, it was announced that the beloved British designer Phoebe Philo was to make her return to fashion with her own eponymous, LVMH-backed label. Then there was a deafening silence. Whispers that it might in fact never happen were alarming, and seemed more likely as each day passed – but if there’s a designer who is bound to adopt a slower, more thoughtful approach to fashion, it’s Phoebe Philo. Now, over a year and a half later, in a statement posted today on Instagram, the designer has confirmed that her inaugural collection will be unveiled in September this year.
The statement on the (otherwise empty) brand Instagram page reads, “Our inaugural collection will be revealed and available on our website phoebephilo.com, in September 2023. We will be opening for registration in July 2023 and look forward to being back in touch then.” Though the website domain has been purchased, the page is currently blank. No other hints as to how the collection will look have been given away, aside from a stark, classic new serif logo signing-off the statement.
Philo established herself in the early noughties as a designer sharply attuned to what women wanted – there was a thoughtfulness and a wisdom to her designs that trickled down further than the eye could see, as she expertly blended masculine and feminine elements in muted colour palettes, providing a uniform that empowered and streamlined. Her designs heralded in a new, clean era of womenswear – the ripples of which can still be felt today. Her protogees include Daniel Lee, now at Burberry, who served under Philo as the ready-to-wear director at Céline (now stylised ‘Celine‘ since her departure), and Abnit Nijjar, who is now design director for womenswear at Jil Sander.
Graduating from Central Saint Martins’ womenswear course, Philo became a design assistant to fellow British designer and friend Stella McCartney. Five years on she was appointed as successor to the helm of French fashion house, Chloé, where she was credited with transforming the label, moving it along with the times. Later she was appointed at Céline (at the time a slightly more ‘grown-up’ label), where she created a new sartorial dialect promoting natural beauty for mature women, exceeding all revenue expectations and winning acclaim amongst the highest ranks in the industry. Pioneering the casting of mature models in shows, her designs at Céline were characterised by long sweeping hemlines, drop-shoulders, louche silk shirts and luxe, minimalistic outerwear. Her sudden departure at the French label in 2017, after 10 years as their creative director cast grey skies over the industry, as she announced she was taking time off to take care of her young family.
“Being in my studio and making once again has been both exciting and incredibly fulfilling,” Philo said in a statement after her comeback was announced. “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.”