Celine Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2013 Paris

The mood book at the Celine show this season was filled with images of the derrières of marble statues, cumulus clouds and fifteenth and sixteenth century Flemish portraiture.  A disparate mix if ever there was one. But damn if Phoebe Philo didn’t find a way to make those starting points come together in a stellar show made for modern women who want effortless attires that will work as hard as they do.

Working women like fashion plate journalist JJ Martin or public relation powerhouse Karla Otto could have easily been the muses for this collection. Their mutual love of unfussy ponytails certainly seemed to be the inspiration for the styling of the show. And their work ethic is something that Philo can certainly relate to.

Her crystal clear collection was sent down a wood block cobblestone runway in a bright “light box” venue that made it easier to see all of the different textural fabrics she was playing with this season including boiled wool, wool crepe, mink and check tweeds. The silhouette of the minimalistic yet feminine show was predominantly of the easy slightly oversized variety. That saw thick drop shouldered coats with wide lapels cocoon the body. Circle skirts and effortless dresses in alabaster shades that could be slipped on in seconds were ideal for women constantly on the go.  And one sweater in shades of navy, that was cut loose at the back to swing gently with the model’s movements, was the perfect option for a “casual Friday”.

There was a sartorial dialogue going on in the show where Philo was examining the concept of freedom and restraint. The coats with their sleeves tied across the chest, so models were forced to slide their arms out of side vents to put their hands in their pockets, was a pretty clear metaphor. Bands of fabric, a modern take on a shrug, limited the movement of the upper body giving a frisson of sensual repression. But the clearest blend of these two notions was the second to last look which had the model trussed up in a swath of taunt fabric encircling body, that was layered with a sleeveless jacket.   

Amongst this show’s celebration of modern minimalism there was an oddly endearing series of colorful  stiff tweeds that seemed as if they were inspired by the famed French “Tati” totes.  Count on them selling out before they hit the floor of Celine stores. Actually count on most of this collection having a high sell through rate. For even if there were only two trousers shown on the catwalk- Second skin “stocking” boots making up for their absence- this was a sublime show that had some serious legs.

- Jessica Michault

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