Just in, Phoebe Philo is officially returning to fashion as part of a new project with LVMH.
Back in very early 2020, I wrote a piece about the circulating rumour that Phoebe Philo was not yet done with fashion. It was a fervent plea to see the former Céline creative director to return to the cutting room, this time, under her own eponymous namesake. Today, that plea has been answered, with The Business of Fashion announcing that after a three-year hiatus from fashion, Philo is set to return. This time at the helm of Phoebe Philo Studios, a clothing and accessories label “rooted in exceptional quality and design.” Here's what we know so far.
Phoebe Philo Studios: what we know
LVMH has reportedly taken a minority stake in the new venture, leaving Philo to do with the brand as she sees fit. Since she exited Céline in 2017, an Alphabet Large 'P' pendant-shaped hole has been left in our hearts, and today's news has begun to heal the wound.
"Being in my studio and making once again has been both exciting and incredibly fulfilling,” said Philo in a statement shared with BoF. “I am very much looking forward to being back in touch with my audience and people everywhere. To be independent, to govern and experiment on my own terms is hugely significant to me.”
The speculation that she would move to Chanel or fill the late Azzedine Alaïa's shoes was frequent conversation before Virginie Viard stepped into this role at Chanel, and Pieter Mulier at Alaïa, leaving us to question whether or not she really would ever return again. This news, though, feels much more fitting to Philo's DNA as a designer.
“I have had a very constructive and creative working relationship with LVMH for many years. So, it is a natural progression for us to reconnect on this new project,” She added, with LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault describing Philo as “one of the most talented designers of our time,” noting: “I am very happy to partner with Phoebe on her entrepreneurial adventure and wish her great success.”
Phoebe Philo's fashion legacy
The confirmed return of Phoebe Philo reminds us why we become Philophiles in the first place. After her tenure at Chloé, Philo's understated, minimalist, woman-forward designs built the new pillars for Céline when she took on the Parisian label following its relaunch in 2008. The success was monumental, especially for a brand whose creative director ushered in the very premise of quiet luxury, a concept which, in Philo's absence, has been adopted by many newer names in the luxury market. Daniel Lee's Bottega Veneta, for example, alongside Peter Do's purposeful tailoring - both whom worked under Philo at Céline - and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's The Row.
By wiping the french brand's slate clean, Philo introduced a new identity built on foundational classics that women everywhere wanted to wear. Pioneering the "for women, by women" tagline that so many women-run companies have now latched onto, Philo was there from the beginning, producing a humble tribute to female form and function through the clothes she chose to put into the world. Creating the roadmap for the look of a generation, Philo's agnostic attitude towards trends was exactly what catapulted Céline to success. “It felt better for me to work on an idea of a wardrobe than too much trend. I worked hard to create things that stand the test of time.” She said at her 2009 debut for the brand, leaving templates for a new wave of designers following her exit. The non-trend trend that everyone wants to wear.
According to BoF, Philo "declined to say when her new label will debut, only that more details would be made available in January 2022", which leaves us to anticipate a lot. As a designer who has never failed to set the agenda, it will be interesting to witness the ways in which she will pivot her undeniable influence in luxury fashion. While we agree with BoF's sentiment that "Bold, logo-heavy looks resonate more powerfully than minimalism on social media," we are confident in Philo's ability to not only adapt with the current, but to thrive despite it, too. This will likely be, after all, one of the most highly-anticipated launches of the past couple of years.
Welcome back, Phoebe, we've missed you.