PFW S/S '11 report - CELINE

04 October 2010

Clean, crisp and carefree: Phoebe Philo’s message at Celine remains clear. There were no radical departures or about-turns from a line that is all about the simplest clothes and the essence of luxury.

The show opened with a pristine palette of white, cream and beige. A sleeveless jacket cut in creamy white with a waterfall collar was worn over wide silky trousers. Tunic tops with echoes of a fisherman’s smock or Berber hooded robe offered the coverage of a coat or jacket without the complications of tailoring and was softened by the addition of those wide silky trousers again. Kimono wrap jackets in textured linen had a hint of rural Japan about them. Silken tunics got starchy cotton mannish double cuffs.

Phoebe Philo’s signature is all about utilitarian simplicity. The summer collection also got a twist of ethnic romance that added to the Celine minimalism, an almost exotic glamour. But, let's not get too carried away. It is the kind of glamour that manages to be both quiet and highly self-assured. These are the kind of clothes, we imagine are worn by prize-winning women who are happy to chat quietly in the corner and let the party come to them.

Colour broke through in a typically understated way: a starched white cotton collarless shirt billowed crisply over a beige leather apron wrap skirt. A slim shift dress in tobacco leather, styled over straight pants, kept the palette neutral until a Bordeaux leather apron wrap-skirt and royal blue cotton shirt and a series of workwear-inspired pieces in indigo cotton marked a change of pace.

A series of silken trousers with colourful painterly stripes down the side seam, and tops in scarf printed silk twill with pyjama ease finally gave way to a perfectly-tailored knee-length dark navy shift with jewelled camel sandals. The season may have been big on colour so far.  Pheobe Philo took us on a quick detour into brights before finding home again with her impeccably tailored neutrals.

Her Celine is a no-brainer option for working women everywhere but I think it’s missing some of the fabulous femininity that so characterised her signature at Chloe. Women have come a long way since they had to dress neutrally to be taken seriously. Phoebe’s focus has catapulted Celine into poll position in Paris fashion week. She seems to be grasping for something more free but for the moment is only getting as close as her discipline and self control will allow.


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