Phoebe Philo Returns!

06 October 2009

Over dinner last night, late (steak frites, lentils, profiteroles and chocolate sauce and a liberal slosh of wine) we discussed the absence of daywear. It’s been weighing on my mind ever since. ‘We’ were an assorted group of fashion editors: Americans and Brits. And the consensus was that the majority of designers clearly think, in lean times, a woman will splurge on a cocktail or evening dress and go to the high street for the rest.

I question the wisdom in this. For a start, who’s giving dressy parties right now? And I’ve always found, when the budget is tight, a little bit of vintage can deliver charming sparkle in the evening glimmer. But in the cold light of day, if you need to make an impression, a cheap suit is evidently a cheap suit.

Which brings me to Celine. Phoebe Philo (ex Chloe and Stella McCartney) was making her Paris catwalk comeback after a three year absence from fashion. Her first outing was a stunning cruise collection back in May (landing in stores November, ladies). So this was a white hot ticket.

Celine is traditionally a luxury French house were you could reliably find fabulous day wear. And Phoebe delivered day wear but the kind that belongs to a life not many of us can imagine. Not that it wasn’t beautiful. She has a sensibility that is stepping up to fill the void left by Jil Sander with her clean minimalist tailoring. But where Jil could be prim, Phoebe applies a feminine touch that makes the difference between wanting and needing.

But I am unsure as to how many of us know how or where to wear a lazer cut leather shift dress. Or a cotton drill cagoule? I don’t mean to rain on this much loved Brit’s triumphant parade. I am just putting it out there.


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