Friday, June 12, 2009

"It's very subtle, but it just looks right."*

Celine Resort 2010 [click to enlarge]

Phoebe Philo presented her debut collection for Celine yesterday (Resort 2010, which will begin appearing in stores in November), and I thought it was a brilliant beginning. The pressure on Philo was tremendous. She'd been on hiatus from the fashion biz since the beginning of 2006, and after the magic she worked in her nearly 10 years at Chloé, the last five under the title of creative director, she had nowhere to go but down. But Philo rose beautifully to the occasion with a first collection full of clean lines and quietly luxurious details that should please Celine's mainstay clients, while injecting ultra-modern twists and a fresh mood that the cool girls can love. If that sounds like a vision that's trying to do too much, it wasn't; instead, it came across as coherent, cohesive, and timeless.

Celine Resort 2010 [click to enlarge]

Celine, which began in Paris in 1945 as a boutique selling made-to-measure children's shoes, and expanded into women's ready-to-wear, footwear, and handbags in the 1960s, has been essentially rudderless since 2004, when Michael Kors left after 7 years at the helm. I was often a fan of Kors's work for the label (one of my all-time favorite coats is his below, second from the left), but at the end of his tenure there didn't seem to be a lot of difference between his own line and the collections he was turning out for Celine (a distinction that I suppose can't always be easy to maintain when you're an established designer with a strong sensibility).

From left: Celine F/W 2004; F/W 2003; F/W 2004; F/W 2004
[click to enlarge]

Philo looks to be subtly taking the label in a new direction, and updating it enough so that it looks really right for now. She obviously has a talent for tapping into the moment, but this is not Chloé part deux – Philo just as clearly has an impressive ability to allow a label's own identity to breathe.

More images from the collection are below. I could easily have included the whole thing, as I thought there was hardly a miss and little redundancy in spite of the simplicity of the pieces and the strong themes that carried throughout.

Celine Resort 2010 [click to enlarge]

I can't wait to see what Philo does for Spring 2010. No pressure at all.

See the whole collection at, here (and read Cathy Horyn's take – Philo "makes one of the strongest sportswear statements we’ve seen in some time. . . . [The clothes'] value is to a large and almost novel degree in their practicality" – here).

*Phoebe Philo speaking to Nicole Phelps about a detail in her Resort 2010 collection for Celine

1 comment:

Quinn said...

I like the collection, although the designs make me think of the costumes in the Star Wars movies.