Backstage after Phoebe Philo’s fall Céline show, a group of journalists surrounded her, desperate to be told what the collection was about. They should’ve already known from the runway that it was a study in beautiful clothes. Clothes to live in, clothes to move in, clothes that signal to the world a highly evolved taste level, and allow fashion indulgence without frivolity. It was a great collection if not the revelation Philo fans anticipate.

 

Her words were abstract. “It’s about finding the possibilities. Curiosity. Going in there and trying to find it,” she said. Find the stillness sometimes in it.” It was mellow. Big, buttoned-up shirts with exaggerated, undone cuffs were worn over wide pants cut to move with you. They came in shades of yellow, white and ivory and were worn with flat minimalist gladiators. Nothing was restricting. Sometimes Philo cocooned the body with a nubby top of curved, engulfing Japanese proportions, shapes and outerwear with big, cape-ish flaps that fell down the shoulders and had drawstring bottoms. Other times she flirted with feminine shapes, with twisted, clingy jersey tunics and an hourglass T-shirt. There were dresses embroidered with organic link shapes, shiny silk dresses that were ruched and knotted, and a mineral blue leather trench offered one of the few instances of strong color.

 

Pressed about what “it” she went in search of, Philo said she meant “the process.” She touches and feels her way through a collection, sometimes not knowing what will surface until it’s nearly show time. This time, the yield was quiet. She found a moment of stillness, but processes are ongoing. Next season awaits.

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