You may have heard about the power houses COS and Prada, seen how their catwalk fashion filters down into our high street stores but do you know about one of the brains behind them?
Having graduated from Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 1996 this French born, English designing success Phoebe Philo has gone from strength to strength. It is astonishing just how far she has come from the 4 year old who would reportedly cause tantrums if she couldn’t dress herself. This classically androgynous wonder woman may seem structured and mature now but she has a wild side, which started after her year long foundation course at Wimbledon School of Art when she received her first sewing machine at aged 14. Where she lived with shoe designer Olivia Morris, wore gold teeth and thought she would marry hip hop artist LL-Cool-J. Years later however Philo discovered that her talent and curiosity for life and fashion could be transformed into a successful career.
Landing herself a job at Chloe as Stella McCartney’s design assistant the year after CSM, she took over her role as creative director in 2001, giving her enough time to prove her self within the fashion industry. Part of her professional charm was presenting a high level of gratitude and modesty when talking about her own work and vision during this period at Chloe. She claims Stella McCartney was a great source of inspiration because she taught her a lot about design, whilst she added a particular style of street flair to McCartney’s designs.
Having progressed so rapidly in her career she stepped back, resigning from Chloe at the height of its success in 2006 in order to give all of her attention to her family. The uniqueness of Philo is evident in her dedication to her family of two children and husband, art gallery owner, Max Wigram. This dissimilarity between her and other designers has completely altered the schedule of the hours she and her team works as Phoebe points out that she likes to be at home to put her children to bed.
Like McCartney, Philo was a vegetarian and when she returned to the world of fashion her morals of refusing the use of fur had not wavered. Her ethics even extended past McCartney with the condoned use of leather. However, something must have altered in either Philo’s view of fur or the brands focus because Céline, where she currently works as creative director, started the use of fur in their A/W ’12 collection.
Today Philo works for Céline. A French fashion house that was founded in 1945 and is internationally renown for it’s sleek designs and polished tailoring. Since becoming the creative director of this lavish brand in 2008, part of the multi-national luxury goods superpower LVHM, containing majority shareholder Christian Dior, she has managed to exceed expectations ultimately gaining her multiple awards. This includes winning British designer of the year, twice.
Her development within the field fashion exudes through her collections for Céline. Philo’s ambition was to reinvigorate the brand and make it a recognisable essential to catwalk fashion trends. She wanted to create a presence for Céline, by staying true to their signature style of structured silhouettes and minimalistic chic, she did not cave at the pressures to conform or broaden out with mainstream trends, which earn them the edge in the fashion industry.
This idea was excellently executed at Céline’s Paris Fashion Week show. An intimate 70 guests presented in-house by an eight month pregnant Philo, emphasized just how classic and loud the collection was in a smaller atmosphere. The fact that she does not allow media behind stage made it even more so exclusive and therefore twice as exciting. It would not have been a Céline collection if it did not feature leather or their structured cricket jumpers. With fuchsia tones, asymmetric shapes and fur this quiet show spoke volumes.
If you haven’t had your fill of Philo yet, then a Céline piece is a wise fashion investment. Phoebe Philo makes a point of keeping her life private in work and family, so her collections are the best reflection of both her personality and profession. In fact she is one of the only designers who keeps press and images under wraps until after her shows and does not subscribe to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook which could arguably be why she can be viewed as a Fashion genius.
Click here to view Phoebe Philo’s Spring 2013 collections for Céline.
Written by Aura Montana
image courtesy of Fabsugar.com.au/celine.com/ iwphotos.independant.ie