Yesterday Phoebe Philo presented her first major collection for Celine. And to say the critics could hardly stand it (in a good way) would be an understatement. Celine has had four designers since 1997, and Philo has been off the fashion scene to spend time with her family for the past four years (she last designed for Chloé). Cathy Horyn writes that the runway photos don't do the clothes justice, adding "they put out a mature, confident, sexy vibe." She was relieved to see sportswear on the runway as opposed to those embellished crusty pieces that designers have become obsessed with as of late. The sleeveless trench dress was a universal favorite.
Suzy Menkes also probably needed a fan after the show. What put her over the edge was the refreshing near-absence of accessories, namely handbags. Celine being an LVMH-owned brand, "This was an important exercise in making Celine fashion credible," she writes. Indeed, handbags are what sells, and in recessionary times it was a bold move to take a step back from that. "It's just the beginning. It felt like, just take it easy, just start easy," Philo said after the show. "It's nice to have the bubble of expectations burst. That feels good."
We were relieved to see opaque clothes and pants on every girl. Philo added, "I wanted to clean it up, refocus, and present a strong, powerful woman." In a season where it seems nearly every designer is sending women down the runway in their underwear, that is so refreshing and so necessary.