Phoebe Philo David Sims

Phoebe Philo

Creative Director, Céline

The onetime designer for Chloé returned to fashion and transformed a sleepy bourgeois label into a much-copied global fashion force.

United Kingdom Designers 2013 BoF 500 2013 2014 BoF 500 2014



Phoebe Philo’s work at Céline has redefined what women aspire to wear. Her minimalist aesthetic, clean lines and tonal colour palette has come to be regarded as the epitome of chic. Consistently name checked by fashion insiders as the label they want to wear, Philo has successfully resuscitated a tired Parisian house and recast it as an imperative part of each season’s fashion dialogue.

The elegant and publicity wary designer studied at Central St Martins, before joining her friend Stella McCartney at Chloé as her first assistant  in 1997. The designer arrived in Paris to take up her role with gold plated teeth. Following McCartney’s exit from Chloé, Philo took over the reins of the house as creative director.

Over the next five years Philo made Chloé one of the hottest invites of Paris fashion week, and a commercial success. Riffing on the house’s archive, Philo’s designs were effortless, elegant and feminine: baby doll dresses, high wasted jeans and wooden wedges, not to mention the world conquering Paddington bag.

“My relationship with fashion is playful,” Philo told British Vogue in 2005, “and very expressive of what I’m feeling at the time.”

Suddenly however Philo resigned from her role at Chloé. The designer did not elaborate as to her reasons, however she did reference her desire to spend more time with her family. Philo’s desire to retain some semblance of a private life was believed by many to be a motivating factor, she told Vogue in 2005, the same year of her resignation, “I want to show my personality through my designs and stay pretty anonymous outside the industry.”

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