The serene sunset shades of the color block tenting that framed the Celine show space, created by Danish artist FOS, imbued the venue with a zen-like calm. The Arte Povera packed dirt floor and the carved wood individual front row seating also helped to telegraph a sense of quiet nobility to the location. But all of that stillness was shaken to its core when designer Phoebe Philo unveiled her latest collection for the house.
Philo, in the same vein as Miuccia Prada, blazes her own unique path through the world of fashion. But whereas Prada is a maximalist designer, Philo shifts fashion’s sartorial axis through precision minimalism that challenges women to see themselves in a new and powerful light.
In this show – one of the best the designer has ever produced – there were no references to a time, place, or person. It existed wholly and absolutely in the here and now. Excelling with a focused innate simplicity, a place harder to find than one would imagine. For the true beauty of simplicity is the ability to clear the mind from all the clutter and noise to arrive at an unexplored place of clarity.
With this collection, that lucidity was crystal clear to everyone fortunate enough to attend the show. Starting off with a series of silk slip dresses, one of this season’s major trends, the designer made them her own by inserting graphic chevrons of lace and having the models wear utilitarian footwear with the ultra-feminine staple, instantly adding tenacity to the garments and reducing their girly sweetness. The case was the same for how Philo reappropriated the traditional womanly hourglass shape to create winning coats that exaggerated those curving lines by slotting in a wide swath of ribbing across the length of the torso. And the poetic softness of some off the shoulder puff sleeve tops were given an almost romantic rigor thanks to the designer pulling the fabric in tight across the bosom only to forgivingly release it below.
There were so many original and captivating ideas, it was hard to keep up as Philo quickly introduced roomy wrap front plaid pants, pleated easy silk dresses, leather apron tunics, and fur coats that brought to mind comfy Slankets.
This was a watershed collection. Philo proved with this lineup the veracity of the belief that people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
Today she showed them.