Phoebe Philo’s work at Céline has redefined what women aspire to wear, with her minimalist aesthetic, clean lines and tonal colour palette gaining traction with critics and consumers alike. Consistently name checked by fashion insiders as the label they want to wear, Philo successfully resuscitated a tired Parisian house and recast it as an imperative part of each season’s fashion dialogue.
The designer studied at Central St Martins, before joining her friend Stella McCartney at Chloé as her first assistant in 1997. Following McCartney’s exit from Chloé in 2001, Philo took over the reins of the house as creative director.
Under Philo’s leadership, Chloé became one of Paris Fashion Week’s most coveted invites, and the brand was a commercial success thanks to Philo’s effortless, feminine creations and profitable “It” bag designs, such as the Paddington, which launched in 2005.
Philo resigned from her role at Chloé in 2006, taking a step back from the fast-paced fashion industry; without elaborating as to her reasons, she did cite a desire to spend more time with her family.
After a two-year hiatus, Philo returned to the studio, accepting the creative directorship of LVMH’s Céline. With regards to her aesthetic Philo told British Vogue, “I felt it was time for a more back-to-reality approach to fashion, clothes that are beautiful, strong, and have ideas, but with real life driving them.” Her sentiments perfectly reflected the mood of the moment, resulting in double-digit growth for the company and a new roster of cult items, including the much-copied Luggage tote.
Philo won British Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2010, for the second time. In 2011 Philo received the International Award at the CFDA Fashion Awards.