After a four-year hiatus – and an entry into motherhood – Phoebe Philo’s return to Paris fashion week on the occasion of her first runway collection for Céline was well worth the painstaking wait.
The spring/summer 2010 show opened with strong, somewhat masculine leathers, and morphed cohesively into sheer nudes and delicate trimmings, each with an individual air of unfussy femininity. Contradictions were the primary focus of the collection- hard and soft, light and dark, airy and structured – with Céline’s staple handbags almost absent from the runway, save for a few understated clutches grasped in models’ hands. Yet there was no sense of decorative deficiency – the wooden wedges that accompanied most looks served as substantial ornamental glue – while the collection’s color scheme was something of perfection, seemingly well thought out and strategic, but to Philo, black, white, camel, and khaki, were simply her favorite at the time; an easy choice.
Philo made a conscious move away from the younger, girlish Chloe customer she once designed with in mind, transitioning into a wardrobe of sensual, smart looks for a refined, workingwoman. Phoebe Philo is known for creating worlds of her own, and with the bound inspiration books given to show-goers upon their arrival, outsiders were able to get a brief glimpse into the secret vault that is her design process; inside, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Helmut Newton, disco balls and grainy black-and-white nudes graced the pages. While this whirlpool of references might seem eclectic, the collection was seamless, each look the epitome of modern ‘day wear’ with a sophisticated, clever twist.