Only a few of today's fashion designers have a near-universal following. Lagerfeld. Jacobs. Prada. In an industry known for dispassionately blowing off the masses in the constant search for "new" and "next", it takes both talent and personal star quality to make it for more than a few years.
Since 2001, when she took over Chloe from Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo has had every fashion editor worth her car service hypnotised. Now, ladies and gents, the Barack Obama of fashion has come off a three-and-a-half-year hiatus with her debut collection for Celine.
A confident, neutral-based Celine resort collection is the perfect grown-up continuation of Philo's work at Chloe. For that brand, which she left after her Spring/Summer 2006 collection, she popularised a thrown-together, girly aesthetic that ranged from babydoll dresses to wedge shoes. Now, the wool capes and geometric dresses at Celine bring a sense of polish without ever implying the effort to look good for others. Pop on a tuxedo jacket and some mirror-heeled sandals, and your outfit's done.
"It's not about total looks," Philo tells Style.com about her new work. "After my break, and with Celine in various different hands these last years, it felt better for me to work on an idea of a wardrobe than too much on trends. October will be for that. The collection is about interchangeable investment pieces. I worked hard to create things that will stand the test of time."