A hip length pea coat in navy double face wool with a collar flipped up around the face and a pair of ankle length flared trousers over a low heeled riding boot. A chunky ribbed roll necked tabard over slim flares and a high stacked heeled loafer. Or a collarless wool jacket with tails layered over a simple silk shirt, skinny flares and girly stilettos.
In a simple opening sequence Phoebe Philo nailed what just about every girl in the audience for her second Celine show wanted to wear. Much has been said about fashion’s return to the classics for A/W 2010, and a lot more besides about how dull life can be if the choices are reduced to some timeless tailoring with a parka thrown in for a bit of sporty edge.
But what Phoebe managed to do was to take the elements of masculine tailoring, perfectly suited to the demands of relentless schedules but softened with a femininity that is both serious and seductive. How many times in the past year, have I wished that I could reach into my wardrobe and come up with something that doesn’t need tricky styling to look pulled together; doesn’t make me look like I am trying too hard, yet still preserves my style credibility; is simple but luxurious and doesn’t make me look older than I am. I’ve longed for a formula that isn’t frumpy; a back to basics wardrobe that isn’t bland. This is what Phoebe Philo delivered today.
It was a collection that acknowledged that in spite of her insane schedule, the modern working woman is chicer, sharper and younger at heart than ever. I take exception with the too-straight pinafore dresses because most women I know want to hold on to their waist and at least reference their curves. But the tweed coats that dipped low in front and the super sharp patent trench coat brought the collection back on message.
It’s worth noting that Celine is a revered accessories house and the low boots with their gold block heel, the high loafers and the envelope shaped bag with gold chain strap were also winners. The inspiration book, left for the audience to peruse before the show, may have referenced Michael Jackson on several pages, but you’ll be glad to know there wasn’t a tasselled epaulette in sight.
- Paula Reed