Phoebe Philo – Fashion Embracing Thoughtfulness Today

Phoebe Philo – Fashion Embracing Thoughtfulness Today

After five years in seclusion, Phoebe Philo returns, carrying with her an unchanged essence: an unassuming love for women and a profound appreciation for creativity in silence.

Born in Paris and raised in London, Phoebe Philo received a sewing machine on her 14th birthday. She studied at Central Saint Martins, where industry insiders described her as “precise,” “reserved,” “mysterious,” and possessing a “clear vision.” After years in seclusion, tending to her family, Philo decided to make a comeback with the support of the luxury empire LVMH, and her first collection is set to debut in late October 2023.

Phoebe Philo had a brilliant career before stepping back into seclusion | Source: Fashion Magazine

But what does the name Phoebe Philo truly represent? How has she made significant impacts in the fashion industry? What can we expect from her personal brand in this comeback? To uncover these aspects, let’s start with a seemingly straightforward yet emotionally resonant truth: she is a woman full of empathy, a mother of three. What Phoebe Philo does is not about creating fashion trends but about providing ultimate comfort for women in what they wear. In an interview with The Independent, she expressed:

“I do like the idea of women not showing too much, of them being quite reserved in a way, and quite covered.”

At first glance, this philosophy might seem to stem from a strict mother amidst a world craving the most explosive and noisy self-expression. However, Phoebe Philo remains steadfast in this elegance, tranquility, paving the way for brilliant strides in the fashion industry. Few designers have influenced to the extent of coining new vocabulary: ‘Philo-philes’ – dedicated admirers of Phoebe Philo. During her time at Celine, the term “Celine-ization” was even used as an adjective, reflecting the profound impact she had on the entire fashion industry at the time.

Creativity Stemming from Love for Women

A renowned figure of understated elegance, rarely participating in interviews and steering clear of social media, Phoebe Philo can be considered a taciturn representative of her generation. Instead of speaking volumes, she channels her care for women through her clothing. Philo is noted for “silently bringing about a change in the perception of comfort at home and in the workplace.”

Backstage at her Celine debut in 2009, Phoebe Philo revealed her vision and design ethos, emphasizing a focus on the collection’s ideas rather than chasing trends excessively. In her eyes, nothing is more beautiful and inspiring than “diligently creating things with the potential to withstand the test of time.”

The legendary soft shoes of Celine | Source: HuffPost

Hence, we continue to be captivated by wide-legged trousers paired with sneakers, oversized cuff shirts, camel-colored long coats, and the comforting embrace of pillow-shaped bags. Phoebe Philo can be seen as a trailblazer for the quiet luxury style that has gained popularity in recent years.

However, beyond the unpretentious beauty, what Phoebe Philo does for women is offer a multi-sensory experience through clothing. It’s not just about flattering silhouettes but also about feeling at ease while walking in comfortable wide-leg trousers, slipping into a pair of soft and smooth fur-lined shoes, or embracing a pillow bag that feels genuinely cozy. Although Phoebe Philo may present herself with a cool, aloof demeanor, her designs exude warmth and gentleness.

The ‘quiet luxury’ style in Celine collections under Phoebe Philo’s era | Source: The Washington Post

In her working studio, Philo has crafted a space for women that is respectful, trusting, and cohesive. Her work fosters harmony among female colleagues, promoting comfort in everything from confidence to artistic expression. Their collaborative approach is gentle and nurturing.

In contrast to the loud slogans of feminism, Phoebe Philo, though sparing with words, still manages to express her “voice” powerfully. Her personal style creates seismic waves in an impressive manner.

Impressive farewell performance from the creative director | Source: The Guardian

At the Celine Spring/Summer 2011 show, Phoebe Philo closed the runway in tailored trousers and a round-neck knit paired with Adidas Stan Smith sneakers. Despite the fleeting appearance, her cool demeanor and sophisticated aura inspired millions of fashion enthusiasts with a new styling approach – luxury sportswear. Effortless yet dynamic, exuding sophistication, Phoebe Philo also inspired many women, especially those in the fashion industry, to swap high heels for sneakers.

In Tune with the Times and Adventurous

Before making her return with LVMH, Phoebe Philo’s comeback sparked many thrilling speculations. Some predicted she would succeed Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel or take on a top leadership role at a billion-dollar revenue conglomerate like Burberry. However, Philo always harbored a dream of owning and exploring her own path through her personal brand.

LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault described Phoebe Philo’s new project as a “venture startup,” and hailed her as “one of the most talented designers of our time.” Sometimes, phrases like minimalism and understatement may overshadow the fact that Phoebe Philo’s designs and creative style have consistently contained increasing elements of boldness and novelty over the years. Truth be told, her innovations become even more intriguing thanks to her serene lifestyle.

Designs diverging from Phoebe Philo’s commonly serene color palette | Source: Elle

Phoebe Philo does not solely rely on monochromatic palettes. In the Spring/Summer 2013 collection, she introduced brightly colored shoes along with red-painted barefoot-like shoes. By 2014, the fashion elite marveled at garments adorned with graffiti patterns, geometric cutouts, and peculiarly shaped handbags.

Phoebe Philo’s impressive innovations also include belts doubling as handbags in the Fall 2016 season. Even in her last show before parting ways with Celine in 2017, Philo didn’t forget to highlight unconventional color combinations like yellow-pink, deconstructed tailoring techniques, oversized bags, and large buckle belts.

Unconventionality in the designs of Phoebe Philo | Source: Popsugar

The choice to step away from the fashion scene for five years was an adventurous decision in itself. Indeed, the calm demeanor of reserved women can leave others astounded by their choices. Phoebe Philo lives within her own timeline and creative universe. A fashion world not dictated by industry frenzy but rather one that is gentle, adorable, much like two sincere women sharing style secrets.

Phoebe Philo’s comeback takes place amid a period of global upheaval in economics, politics, and the fashion industry. Perhaps, it’s the opportune time because everyone craves the sight of garments that exude confidence yet remain soft and versatile. This is the moment when women seek someone they can trust, someone to share emotions with. Phoebe Philo is ready to return, using her designs to provide a “shield” for the turbulent emotions many women are currently experiencing.


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