“Seeing Double: The Philo Effect”

L:. Proenza Schouler Spring 2024 Ready-to-Wear, Photo courtesy of Proenza Schouler R: Celine Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear, Photo by Monica Feudi for Indigital.tv

Fashion month has come to an end. These past weeks, we’ve heard a lot of talk about the need to create a modern woman’s wardrobe, but only a handful of designers delivered. In the end, very few do it better and more succinctly than Phoebe Philo.

Philo’s facility for synthesizing the aspirational with the everyday put her on the map. It enabled her to define the modern look of a generation with her incredibly chic, modern, and minimalist aesthetic.

Phoebe initially planned to unveil her independent fashion house in September, but she is wisely waiting until the dust settles on the collections. On October 30th, Philo’s website will finally be open for business.

While we don’t know what exactly Phoebe has planned other than “150 pieces of clothing and accessories rooted in exceptional quality and design,” according to an early press release, I continually see vestiges of Phoebe on recent runways. In some cases, the similarities are uncanny.

I don’t mean to imply that fashion designers deliberately seek to reinvent Philo’s designs, but let’s face it: her influence is evident and enduring. To prove my point, I select an image from a recent runway and show it alongside a Phoebe Philo design for Celine. What strikes me the most is how inherently modern Phoebe’s designs remain years since they were first presented.

L: Peter Do Spring 2024 Ready-to-Wear, Photo courtesy of Peter Do R: Celine Resort 2017, Photo courtesy of Celine

Left: Peter Do took a risk when he decided to show his eponymous line in Paris this season, but he did us proud (and resuscitated himself after the uninspired Helmut Lang debut in New York) with a collection of fabulous clothes that hit all the right notes, proving why we fell in love with Peter in the first place. One of Do’s recurring signatures is an elongated, slightly sloping, wide-shouldered jacket fitted through the waist and hips, worn over perfectly pleated trouser pants.

Right: This Celine jacket from the Celine 2017 resort line, worn with pleated trousers, is almost identical to Do’s, except that it’s double-breasted and worn with a shirt. But what else would you expect, considering that Do is a Philo protege? As they say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

L: Anna Sui Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear, Photo courtesy of Richie Lee David courtesy of Anna Sui R: Celine Spring Ready-to-Wear 2016, Photo by Monica Feudi for Indigital.tv

Left: Anna Sui is inspired by the famed Peppermint Lounge in the 1960s for her fall 2023 collection, which is heavy on lace-trimmed satin slip dresses. Right: Phoebe Philo mixed pragmatism and lingerie touches within her spring 2016 ready-to-wear collection. Not many designers can make a lace-trimmed satin slip dress look as chic and wearable as Philo.

L: Jil Sander Spring 2024 Ready-to-wear, Photo by Alessandro Lucioni for Gorunway.com R: Celine Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear Photo by Monica Feudi for Indigital.tv

Left: After all this wet weather, unquestionably the most essential item one can buy right now is a really great trench. At Jil Sander, Luke and Lucie Meier layered a marvelous tan trench over a matching colored shirt and jacket, accessorized with a luggage ostrich bag carried like a clutch. Right: Many years before, Phoebe Philo showed her doubled-up two-tone trench over a tan jumpsuit accessorized with a luggage bag held as a clutch. FYI, Phoebe is the designer who started showing bags held this way, and since then, everyone has followed suit.

L: Dries Van Noten Spring 2024 Ready-to-Wear Photo by Alessandro Lucioni for Gorunway.com R: Celine Resort 2016 Photo courtesy of Celine

Left: Dries Van Noten, who showed a marvelously sporty, accessible spring collection, says he wanted to make “the ordinary extraordinary.” Some of the line’s hallmarks are men’s striped shirtings, whimsical footwear, asymmetry, and counterbalancing masculine with feminine. Right: Phoebe unexpectedly mixed patterns, played with men’s striped shirting, and asymmetrical off-kilter cuts for her resort 2016 line. And, of course, the shoes were standouts.

L: Khaite Spring 2024 Ready-to-Wear Photo courtesy of Khaite R: Celine Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Photo courtesy of Celine

Left: Strong, outsized silhouettes, urbane sophistication, and utility infused with luxury are always at the heart of a Khaite collection. This season emphasizes shoulders and waists, as illustrated by this elongated white jacket with sloping shoulders and a defined belted waist. Right: Philo’s belted jacket from spring 2012 might have a wider belt and four large pockets, but the overall idea is very similar.

L: Gabriela Hearst Spring 2024 Ready-to-wear Photo by Filippo Fior for Gorunway.com R: Celine Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Photo courtesy of Celine

Left: On the runways, it’s all about sheer and exposing the body, often wearing little more than a bra and briefs. The netted cover-up is almost beside the point, as exemplified by Gabriela Hearst this season. Right: Eight years ago, when Phoebe designed the Celine spring 2015 collection, she used netting in a considered way and made it look chic and sporty.

L: Dries Van Noten Spring 2024 Ready-to-Wear, Photo by Acielle for Style Du Monde R: Celine Resort 2016, Photo courtesy of Celine

Left: Dries Van Noten’s collections are with soul and personality, and there’s always that wonderful offhanded element of whimsy and surprise. This season, it’s all about playing with opposites and emphasizing different lengths and proportions. Here, the floor-length tan duster creates drama and acts as a marvelous cover-up, paired with iridescent silk shorts and a blue and white striped button-down. The printed socks and sandals add a casual, laid-back vibe.

Right: Phoebe Philo’s approach to Resort 2016 is straightforward and sporty with a touch of the off kilter. She emphasizes volume and plays with proportion by pairing the oversized tan trench with wide-legged floor-sweeping trousers and layering a cropped navy sweater over a blue and white striped cotton shirt with an asymmetrical hem.

L: Ann Demeulemeester Spring 2024 Photo by Daniele Oberrauch for Gorunway.com R: Celine Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Photo courtesy of Celine

Left: For his debut collection for Ann Demeulemeester, Stefano Gallici channeled a dark glamour and went a bit goth and grunge, adding eclecticism to traditional men’s tailoring. A black leather-fringed “apron” is layered over a white pantsuit to offset the strict boyishness. Right: For her Celine fall 2017 collection, Phoebe added artisanal touches to traditional menswear to create a new mood.

Left: Maison Margiela Photo by Filippo Fior for Gorunway.com R: Celine Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Photo by Monica Feudi for Inditigal.tv

Left, For his beautifully rendered, gender neutral Maison Margiela spring 2024 collection, John Galliano emphasized tailoring, fusing elements of Victoriana with contemporary and adding a touch of deconstruction. He showed some of the best, most wearable coats and jackets of the season. Right, Phoebe Philo knows intuitively that few things can beat a well- tailored black coat, perfectly cut, slightly deconstructed black jeans, and a crisp white shirt.

L: Louise Trotter, Creative Director of Carven, Photo by Isadora Montag R: Phoebe Philo takes a final bow Photo by harpersbazaar.uk

Left: Louise Trotter’s goal, as newly appointed creative director of Carven, is to revive the label by focusing on a “new purposeful simplicity.” The British-born luxury sportswear veteran unveiled her lovely vision during Paris Fashion Week. I saw vestiges of Miuccia Prada and Phoebe Philo in her pared-down monochromatic selections. Coincidentally, when Trotter took her bow, she wore a very Philo-esque simple navy sweater, trousers, and white trainers.

Right: Phoebe Philo, seen here taking a bow after her final show, made it cool and chic to wear the most simple of wardrobe basics. Welcome back!

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

  1. Marilyn, you are incredible! The ability to recall and connect the slight ” plagetism” is uncanny. Fashions used to take years to replicate with a new spin but now it seems after 5 or 6 years, it is happening. Part of me feels that creativity has either waned due to budgets and oversight by shareholders.
    As a consumer who looks to the shows for inspiration as well as feeling a need to add amazing pieces to my wardrobe, I feel I have every piece shown already hanging in my closet. As for Dries, and as a collection prior to his sale to Puig, I see a decline in originality, fabric and inspiration. In addition the doubling of prices for inferior workmanship. This collection will only encourage me to buy vintage and upcycle because no way can I justify an unlined trechcoat for 3,800.00 dollars.
    Thank you Marilyn for you discerning eyes.

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